Huge increase in racism in Irish schools

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland today highlighted that as many as 46% of respondents to a survey reported a racist incident taking place in their school in the previous month.  This compares to 25% reporting the same this time last year.Marketing company Behaviour and Attitudes (B&A) last year conducted independent research among teachers and lecturers on the issue of interculturalism, racism and resources for minority ethnic students.

Indicators exist that the situation is worse in Dublin, and that increased incidences are also being reported in communities where job losses are prevalent. There are a number of key recommendations which require urgent implementation in order to give these students parity of opportunity with their peers in order to reach their potential within the Irish education system.” Key findings  43% of respondents were aware of racist incidents which had occurred in their school in the past month. 32% of respondents stated that they do not have a specific formal procedure that is followed if a racist incident occurs in their school or college28% of teachers taught between four and ten minority ethnic students in a single class. 18% taught between 4-6 and 10% taught between 7-10Over a third of Dublin schools have 20% or more minority ethnic students.60% of teachers in VEC schools stated that the presence of minority students in classes increases teacher workload. 70% of teachers said that interpretation services were inadequate64% said that in-service support for intercultural education is inadequate62% said that support available for teaching English as a second language was inadequate80% of respondents from VEC schools said their school does not have access to external translation services60% of respondents believe that additional promotional posts with special responsibility for minority ethnic students are necessary in schools 86% believe that funding for in-service courses should be available 77% believe all teachers should receive in-service on intercultural education 49% of VEC schools do not have policy on anti-racism and the promotion of interculturalism 56% believe a dedicated home school liaison teacher is required where a high number of minority students existKey TUI RecommendationsAny barriers which restrict the full participation and complete involvement of minority ethnic parents/guardians in the education of their children must be removed including: 

  • An immediate lifting of the block on appointments to middle management positions
  • Schools with a high number of Minority Ethnic Students should have the services of a dedicated Home School Community Liaison Service
  • Schools/colleges/centres should have access to translation/interpretation/cultural mediation services where such services are required for minority ethnic students and their parents/guardians
  • Additional posts of responsibility should be provided in schools/colleges which have a high proportion of minority ethnic students
  • Minority ethnic students should be entitled to a dedicated career guidance service.   Extra hours for guidance should be assigned to schools where there are significant numbers of minority ethnic students and these hours should be reserved unequivocally for these students
  • The school/college code of behaviour should be very clear that racist comments, gestures or acts are not acceptable.  Indeed all students irrespective of race should be dealt with consistency in the school/college code of behaviour
  • Every school should have a policy on anti-racism. Such a policy should provide as a minimum that all racist incidents be thoroughly investigated. Procedures to deal with such incidents should be clearly outlined
  • Every school/college/centre should have a specific formal procedure which is followed if a racist incident occurs
  • There should be a structure in place with resources to have teaching hours available at second level/further education/third for minority ethnic students level who require English language support. In light of global expertise, the provision of English language support should be extended beyond two years for students who still need extra tuition in English
  • Inservice courses on intercultural education should be provided for all teachers/lecturers.

 A quantitative survey of 442 second and third level teachers was conducted by marketing company Behaviour & Attitudes via self-completion methodology 

This entry was posted in News/Events. Bookmark the permalink.