Delegates at the annual conference of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a 30 percent increase in pay rates for marking exams. 


Secondary school teachers are saying that the integrity of State exams is at risk unless examiners are paid more for their work.


ASTI member Jim Breslin highlighted the 'impending catastrophe' facing the State Examinations Commission as it proves more and more difficult for them to find examiners and superintendents willing to grade papers due to pay cuts, the Irish Independent reports.



According to the Irish Times, the current pay for marking each individual exam ranges from just over €4 to slightly over €32, depending on the exam's subject and length.


However, teachers say that tax hikes have slashed their take-home pay to less than half of the rates listed above.


One teacher stated that the take-home pay for correcting Junior Cert papers (which range from €4.17 to €11.28 per script) amounts to 'less than the minimum wage'.


Monaghan-based teacher Noel Hogan noted, "This isn’t just about looking for money... it’s about protecting a part of our education system that has huge public respect. Let’s maintain the integrity of the State exams system.”



Fergal Canton, a teacher based in Kilkenny, supported a 20 percent increase instead, saying, “We are in an economic crisis and the cost will probably go to fees for our students, so be mindful of public relations and to be realistic.”


Despite this, the teachers in attendance overwhelmingly voted for the 30 percent pay claim. Some said the 30 percent pay rate increase would result in only a 12 percent rise in take-home pay.


The ASTI deputy general secretary Diarmaid de Paor says the union is set to lodge a formal pay claim soon in conjunction with the Teachers' Union of Ireland.