The education minister said the decision to award £1 million to a group of Irish teachers who have been criticised by their bosses was a “win-win”.
In a statement, Mr Higgins said the money would be used to “support students in learning and professional development”, and the new teaching position would be a “great opportunity for young teachers to work on improving their skills”.
He said the department would continue to work with the teachers on the process of awarding the funding, adding that it was “not appropriate” to discuss the funding decision until the final outcome is known.
The move came after a report from the Oireachtas education committee was published on Monday.
In its conclusions, the committee said the €2.7m grant was awarded “to the very few Irish teachers and staff who have chosen to do what the Department of Education and Skills (DES) deems to be a good course of action”.
It said the teachers had made “substantial contributions” to improving the quality of education in the country.
The committee said that teachers had been awarded a “free market ethos” which was a way of “trying to minimise costs”.
It noted that the department had “dramatically increased” funding for Irish teachers last year.
“There are now over 2,000 teachers in the DES, more than one teacher for every two children in the system,” the committee’s report stated.
“This money is an opportunity to invest in our young teachers and to support them in their development.”
We are also keen to ensure that we can offer our staff the training they need to work in a competitive, innovative environment.
“As we have seen with the Dáil, there is an appetite to invest the money in education in Ireland.”
The department said that “the number of teachers in Dáils has increased from 11,738 in 2014 to 11,823 this year, which is an increase of over 1,500 over the last three years”.
The teachers are part of a national training programme run by the Department for Education and Employment (DSEE).
The programme was first introduced in 2016, with teachers given a number of training opportunities.
The DSEE has said it hopes to expand the programme to other countries in the next few years.
“The DISE is a national initiative to increase the number of Irish educators, and the DSEE is committed to delivering this on a national basis,” the department said in a statement.
“The DTEE will continue to provide a range of opportunities for our Irish teachers to improve their qualifications, in addition to training in teaching, research and social media.”