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Senior Teaching Posts dominated by men: report

27-07-2007

Senior Teaching Posts dominated by men: report

Irish News - 27th July 2007

Girls are top of the class when it comes to exams but male teachers still get more senior teaching positions than their female colleagues at all levels, a report by the Republic's Department of Education found yesterday.

The Sé Sí report, launched by education minister Mary Hanafin, studied the role of gender in education from primary school through to higher and further education.

The findings show that female third-level graduates also outnumber males at all levels of qualification from certificate and diploma up to Master's degree level. Only at PhD level are there the same number of men and women.

The report shows that more girls remain in education and pursue higher and further studies.

Ms Hanafin said the fact that girls consistently outperform boys in the Junior and Leaving Certificate exams "raises questions for families, society and policy makers".

The minister said the government was continuing to target resources to help reduce the number of early school leavers, two thirds of whom are boys.

"Irish women display a much greater and more sustained appetite for education than their male counterparts over the life cycle" Ms Hanafin said.

"Women have greater participation rates in further and adult education courses. "Women's greater lifelong enthusiasm for education is also evident in the central role they have played at local level in initiating community education work in disadvantaged communities over the last two decades. Men largely confine their engagement in further education to apprenticeship, specific skils training and Teagasc agricultural training".

The report shows the proportion of female primary teachers has increased steadily from 58% in the 1930's to 83% in 2005.

The actual number of male primary teachers has not changed a lot during the same period but a department-led campaign was gradually attracting more men into the sector, the minister said.

"It is also very interesting to see that the majority of senior positions within schools, higher education institutions and in the Department of Education and Science are mainly held by males" she said. "The underrepresentation of females at senior levels in the university sector is most severe. I know that this comprehensive report will stimulate debate, discussion and further research on the key issues relating to the whole area of education and gender issues in Irish Society"

Earlier this month the Irish News reported that Northern Ireland schools were in danger of facing a surge of sex discrimination cases if they continued to award a disproportionate amount of top jobs to men.

Men now occupy almost half of all principal posts despite women making up a much larger part of the teaching force, particularly at primary level.

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