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Government does not take the requisite measures to educate children during the pandemic; ASTI members have decided to go on strike if the issue is not considered by later this month

Teachers expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s lack of interest in ensuring the continuity of children’s education during the pandemic.

During this COVID time, the members of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) brought a number of school-related issues to the attention of the Government. But still the government has not yet found a solution for any of them.

ASTI members have decided to go on a strike if the government does not address the issue of teachers by October 30.

They have urged the government to take reasonable measures for children and schools. This include the need for a comprehensive testing programme, rapid testing and turnaround times, resources for schools to ensure continuity of learning if schools are closed or people are self-isolating. 

ASTI president Ann Piggott said ASTI members called for schools to remain open to students during the pandemic. Ann Piggott said teachers wanted the government to speed up the process and address the issues raised by them. “We must be supported in sustaining education for our children and young people,” she said.

Teachers may move to industrial action if the Department of Education fails to implement measures such as redefining close contacts in schools, introducing a serial testing program, and providing free laptops for staff and students to ensure that home-based learning is possible.

ASTI members stated that they would not accept the unilateral decisions of some schools to change working conditions without consulting teaching staff.

Labour education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said the vote on industrial action is a “wakeup call” for the government and Education Minister Norma Foley.

He added that the Minister of Education should make an urgent visit to the teachers’ unions to resolve these issues.

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