Ireland's embassy in the United Arab Emirates is to conduct a survey of Irish people working as teachers in the region in advance of a visit by Minister for Education to the area in coming months.

The survey will attempt to establish how many Irish teachers are working there, as well as their reasons for not coming home.

News of the survey comes as the country's religious-run secondary schools warn that the teacher shortage here is now affecting all subject areas.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Joint Managerial Body in Killarney, Minister Joe McHugh said he had requested the survey from the embassy in Abu Dhabi in preparation for his visit to the region.

He said he would also participate in a number of town hall meetings in order to meet teachers there and hear from them.

The Department of Education does not have data on the number of Irish teachers working in the UAE but it is estimated to run to several thousand.

The embassy survey will open on Sunday and run until 25 May.

Speaking in Killarney, president of the Joint Managerial Body Deirdre Matthews said the shortage of teachers was now "the most pressing problem for school leaders".

In a shift from previous pronouncements on the shortage, Ms Matthews said the crisis now affected all subject areas.

Ms Matthews said that even during the summer recruitment season, schools were experiencing real difficulties in filling viable posts in key subject areas. 

Ms Matthews called on the minister to "leave no stone unturned" to minimise the impact of short-term absences.

Referring to the teacher absences arising from work with State bodies, such as the State Examinations Commission, she called for creative solutions, such as moving oral Leaving Certificate examinations to dates outside the school teaching calendar.