§ 52. Mr. JOHN WALSH
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that in the year 1899 there were in Irish national schools 91 assistant teachers in first-of-first class, 277 assistant teachers in second-of-first class, and 1,553 assistant teachers in second class; that these assistants were promoted to these classes on the same conditions as principal teachers; and that, under existing rules, six consecutive very good reports in the last six years of twelve or more years' service are required for promotion of assistants, whereas only three good reports are required by principal teachers; if so, will he explain why the Commissioners require a higher standard of qualification for assistants' promotion than for principals'; and whether, seeing that it is not the fault of experienced assistants that they remain assistants, and that the Commissioners have neglected to frame rules which would insist on vacant principalships being filled by these experienced assistants, he will say what steps the Commissioners intend taking in future for the promotion at a more rapid rate of Irish assistant teachers?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Commissioners of National Education inform me that the numbers and classes of teachers in 1899 were as stated in the question. 205 Assistant teachers were at that time promoted in classification on the same conditions as principal teachers, but such promotion generally speaking brought no corresponding increase of salary. No comparison such as is made in the question between the number of Reports necessary for promotion of the two classes of teachers is equitable without a consideration of all the other aspects of the question. The promotions of principals are regulated by rule, the promotions of assistants are exceptions to a rule, and to justify the exception in the case of the latter, very high qualifications are expected. The Commissioners have had the question of the promotion of assistant teachers under consideration for some time, and they have given facilities for the more rapid promotion of these officers in certain cases. The question is, however, being still considered with a view to an increase of these facilities for promotion, if possible.