It's due to a major staff shortage

People without teaching qualifications will be marking state exams this year due to staff shortages.

The State Examinations Commission says that any non-teachers who've been hired have third level degrees in the subject area they're correcting.

Teachers say pay rates are also to blame - correctors get between €5 and €32 er paper.

Deputy General Secretary of the ASTI, Diarmaid de Paor says correcting exams isn't easy work: 'It's very intense, you have to concentrate on each paper and give every one the same attention, it's extra work and takes away from much needed time off'.

Guidance counselor Brian Mooney says the situation is alarming: 'They have all these papers coming in and they're trying to find people still to correct those papers. If you have a degree in German from ten or fifteen years ago but you've never been involved in teaching, they're saying this morning that provided you have a qualification in the subject itself then they will give you guidelines in correcting it. It's quite scary when you actually think about it'.

In a statement, the SEC says that it has an 'absolute responsibility to examination candidates to ensure that their work is marked to the highest standards of quality and integrity.'

It added that 'all examiners are appropriately qualified for the work' and that 'most of them are experienced serving and retired teachers'.