Saturday, December 4

The Board of Education expects a deficit of $ 10 million unless the law is changed

A government document shows that the body that registers and disciplines teachers, the Teaching Council, faces a deficit of $ 10 million unless an urgent change in the law allows it to increase its fees.

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A regulatory impact statement accompanying a bill intended to bail out the council said it could not cover its costs because a court review forced it to abandon its recently introduced annual teacher recertification and return to its previous three-year renewal of certificates. of practice.

He said that changing the annual renewal at $ 157 per teacher to once every three years to $ 220 would cut the council’s expected fee income from $ 18.84 million to $ 7.98 million this year.

The document warned that the three-year recertification fee could also be challenged in court, as could the council’s ability to withhold fees it had already received this year.

He said in the statement that the government bill, which was approved in its first reading in Parliament last week, would ensure the financial sustainability of the council and would likely result in an increase in fees for teachers.

“We need to make these changes quickly because until the law is changed, the Council runs the risk of a legal challenge in relation to the fee it is currently charging as a result of the February 2021 fee cancellation, and in relation to Fee .

“Since the rate currently charged is too low to cover its costs, it will continue to run at a loss. You cannot set a new rate to recover all of your costs until the law is changed to allow cost recovery for all of your statutory functions. “

The report said reducing the council’s functions so that its costs could be covered at a lower fee was not an option.

“The functions and form of the Teaching Council, including its governance arrangements, are designed primarily to protect students and the public from harm caused by misconduct or incompetence, and the risks of poor quality teaching to students. children’s lifelong results. ” saying.

“The professional leadership aspects of the Council’s work encompass issues such as promoting inclusion, discouraging racism, and affirming the need to have high aspirations for all students.”

“Without a leadership role, the role of the Council in ensuring the quality of the teaching profession would be limited to a negative approach, through the processes of conduct and competence.

“This runs the risk of the Teaching Council being seen as a police body rather than a professional body that helps ensure that teaching is positive rather than negative for students. In general, changing the functions of the Council is not a proportionate response to the problem and is not appropriate for urgent legislation. “

The Post Primary Teachers Association filed the court case that forced the council to withdraw the annual certification.

The union has challenged the leadership role of the council and wants it to stick to its core functions of registering and disciplining teachers.

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