Hundreds of primary teachers are to be retrained for secondary schools to help solve staff shortages.
There are currently problems recruiting teachers for key subjects like Irish, European languages, chemistry and physics.
The situation is getting worse as pupil numbers rise, with a record 400,000 students expected to be enrolled by the year 2024. Secondary school teachers' union the ASTI has welcomed the plans.
The unions Assistant General Secretary Moira Leyden says primary teachers will be well able to make the change:
"Primary school teachers have to do a bachelor of education so yes they have the knowledge base but I suppose the primary concern is that they will need to be incentivized to take up the two-year qualification program for second-level teachers."