The MUT has recently learnt about a new fee by the Institute for Education (IFE), which is the Introductory Course for Supply LSEs to cost €250 (70% of which is refundable from Get Qualified scheme). The Union notes that this new fee is unfortunately not against any rules as in 2009 an MOU was signed which states that LSEs who do not have a recognised qualification when they start their employment shall be obliged to attend and participate actively in an induction course as directed and approved by the Education Authorities without the right to claim any compensation, and any course costs shall be covered by the employee. In fact, following this 2009 MOU the MUT never had any say in training institutions amending or introducing fees for their courses and there are courses already in place as follows:
– by MCAST with a fee of €340;
– by a private training institute at a fee of €400.
In spite of this, the current group of supply LSEs in employment finishing the course by June will finish the course for free and the revised course structure will be applicable to new Supply LSEs. Still the MUT has recently received reports that there are still a number of Supply LSEs in employment who have not yet followed the introductory course. The Union requested a meeting with the Ministry, through correspondence sent on 6th June, and will be held at the Ministry on 23rd June. The MUT shall be insisting that any fees are not retroactive to Supply LSEs who were already in employment and waiting to follow the mandatory introductory course.
In conclusion, the Union is adamant that as a point of principle it does not agree with any direction that continues to make it more difficult for educators, in this case LSEs, to get qualified. If the government really wants to help the sector to resolve capacity building issues it should make things easier and not more complicated and burdensome to prospective LSEs.