A union representing primary school teachers says students are putting on the 'green jersey' by stepping in as substitutes during the Covid-19 crisis.
It's expected around 4,000 third and fourth year teaching students will serve as subs in primary schools starting as early as next week.
Teaching colleges have agreed to reschedule exams and assignments to facilitate the initiative.
📣INTO welcomes additional measures to alleviate substitution crisis
In recent days, INTO has highlighted the serious shortage of substitute teachers. We welcome measures proposed in the Information Note sent to schools by the Department this evening
— INTO (Irish National Teachers' Organisation) (@INTOnews) November 23, 2021
The young educators have been praised for their efforts to ease the staff shortages.
General Secretary of the INTO John Boyle said while the eroles will be tough, it will "add to their college experience."
"I think it will serve them well in years to come."
The union head added the Department of Education has "certainly done their bit now" but says other Government department must do their part.
He's calling on the Department of Health to reinstate risk assessment and contract tracing in schools.
The Irish National Teachers' Organisation says 10,500, and up to 1,500 primary teachers are currently infected with the virus.