Vocational Education (Amendment) Bill, 1946—Second Stage.

Tairgím go léifear an Bille an dara huair. Sula dtráchta mé ar chuspóir choitcheann an bhille seo, ní miste, dar liom, gearr-chuntas a thabhairt uaim ar oibriú an Achta Ghairm-Oideachais, 1930—an tAcht a bhunaigh an Córas Gairm-Oideachais atá i bhfeidhm againn fá láthair.

Chun go dtuigfear an t-atharú a tháinig de bharr an Achta sin, is riachtanach gearr-bhreithniú a dhéanamh ar an staid ina raibh an Gairm-Oideachas sa tír seo roimh 1930. Tá cur-síos déanta ar an staid sin i dTuarascáil an Choimisiúin Cheard-Oideachais, 1927.

San am úd, ní raibh aon Cheard-Scoil bhuan ag feidhmiú faoi aon Chontae-Scéim i gCo. an Chláir, i Liathdruim, i Luimneach, i Ros Comáin, i Sligeach, i dTiobraid Arann (Theas) ná i gCill Mhanntáin. Lasmuigh de na contaethe sin, bhí 65 ceard-Scoileanna—22 sna Contae-bhuirgí agus sna Baile-Cheanntair, agus 43 faoi Scéimeanna bhí dhá stiúradh ag Coistí Contae. Bhí tuairim is leath na Scol san i dtithe bhí oiriúnach, agus ní raibh ag an gcuid eile ach tithe a bhíodh, roimhe sin, ina n-ospaidéil, nó ina bpríosúin, nó ina séipéil, nó ina dtithe comhnaithe, agus dá réir sin. I ranganna tráthnóna a níthí an phríomh-obair, agus bhíodh freastal na rang sin ag brath ar mhian pearsanta na n-oibrí óg, óir ní raibh sé éigeantach.

I dTuarascáil 1927, tá achmaireacht déanta ar na saghasanna de thréineáil teicniciúil a bhí curtha ar fáil d'aos óg na tíre san am sin, agus is í seo an achmaireacht:—

(a) Teagasc lán-aimsire roimh fhostú;

(b) Ranganna tráthnóna i gceardscoileanna;

(c) Ranganna i gceanntair tuaithe.

Maidir leis an roinn tionnscalach de shaghas (a), bíonn an cúrsa críochnaithe, gach bliain, ag tuairim is 200 de na 500 dalta bhíos ag freastal ar na deich scoileanna oiliúna, agus bíonn sé críochnaithe ag 50 buachaill agus ag 50 cailín ó scoil na bpríntíseach agus ó ranganna na bpríntíseach i mBaile Átha Cliath. Maidir leis an roinn tráchtálach de saghas (a), bíonn an cúrsa críochnaithe, gach bliain, ag tuairim is 1,200 de na 2,000 a bhíos ag freastal ar 40 láithreán. Einne a bhfuil suim aige i gCeard-Oideachas, ní féidir leis a bheith sásta leis na figiúracha sin a bhaineas leis an roinn tionnscalach Idir Scoileanna Gairm-Oideachais agus Scoileanna atá leathghairm-oideasach, ní ullmhaítear go bhliantúil ach ó 250 go 300 den aos óg le haghaidh a bhfostaithe i dtionnscail —uimhir atá fíor-bheag do thír ina bhfuil 3,000,000 de dhaoine.

Maidir le saghas (b), tá tuairim is 22,000 ag freastal ar ranganna tráthnóna. Cúrsaí cheithre mblian a leagtar amach dóibh sin, ach bíonn mórán dalta gan teacht arais an dara bliain, agus ní fhanann ach fíor-bheagán i bhfreastal go dtí an tríú bliain nó an ceathrú bliain. Mórán den teagasc a níthear, ní tagasc teicniciúil é. Sna cúrsaí tionnscnaimh go háirithe, bíonn bun-oideachas ag teastáil, agus laghdaíonn an riachtanas sin éifeacht na hoibre tríd is tríd. Níl an dlúth-bhaint chóir idir na ceardscoileanna agus an tionnscal agus níl siad ag coimhlíonadh a bpríomhchuspóra, eadhon, tréineáil speisialta a thabhairt dóibh siúd atá fostaithe cheana.

Maidir le saghas (c), bíonn 10,000 dalta ag freastal ranganna i gceanntair tuaithe, ach tá mórán de na ranganna sin nach maireann a gcúrsaí ach sé nó ocht de sheachtainí—rud is ionann agus 60 nó 80 d'uaireanna teagaisc. Is mór an locht ar na cúrsaí sin iad a bheith ró-ghairid agus ró-chumhang agus gan aon bhaint a bheith ag cuid acu le prímh-thionnscal na tíre, an talmhaíocht. Tríd is tríd, iséard a meastar go bhfuil sochar áirithe do lucht na bhfeirm sin teagasc a tugtar faoi scéimeanna tuaithe; ach, dá ainneoin sin, nár tugadh aghaidh mar ba cheart, fós, ar cheist an oideachais leanúnaigh agus an cheard-oideachais.

Is é sin an chaoi ina raibh an scéal sul ar ritheadh an tAcht Gairm-Oideachais 1930. Is an tAcht sin an chéad iarracht a rinneadh córas ghairm-oideachais a sholáthar don tír seo d'oirfeadh dá riachtanais speisialta féin, do réir mar moladh i dtuarascáil aon-ghuthach an Choimisiúin um Cheard-Oideachais, i mbliain a 1927. Na Coistí Gairm-Oideachais a ndearnadh soláthar lena n-aghaidh san Acht, tháinig siad i bhfeidhm sa bhfómhar, 1930, ach d'fhan an córas oideachais gan athrú go dtí Seisiún 1931-32. Mar sin de, is le cúig cinn déag de sheisiúin iomlána atá an córas ba chuspóir don Acht i bhfeidhm. Ar feadh na naoi seisiún tosaigh—go dtí deireadh Lúnasa, 1940— chuaigh an obair chun cinn gan aon chur-isteach neamhghnáthach. Ach, maidir leis na trí seisiúin tosaigh, féadfaí a rá gur beag nár sheisiúin trialacha iad, agus nach raibh i bhfeidhm lena linn ach cúrsaí áirithe a bhí curtha ar bun dá dtriail ag na Coistí Gairm-Oideachais, faoi stiúradh agus faoí threoir na Roinne. Ar feadh na dtrí seisiún ina ndiaidh sin, (1934-37) rinneadh comhdhlúthú i gcoitinne ar fhurmhór na scéimeanna ar éirigh leo, agus leanadh de na trialacha, sna ceanntair tuaithe go mór-mhór. Sna trí seisiúin deiridh (1937-40) bhí farás buan i ngach ceantar, ach bhí aire faoi leith dhá tabhairt do ghairm-oideachas sna ceantair tuaithe. Sé seisiúin na hÉigeandála (1940-46) tháinig siad-san ansin, agus bé príomhiarracht na tréimhse sin an obair a choinneáil ar cois chomh hiomlán agus bhí sí roimhe sin. An riachtanas a bhí le spáráil airgid agus na deacrachta eile a bhain leis an Eigeandáil, ní hé amháin gur choisc siad forás na scéimeanna, ach chuir said isteach, a bheag nó a mhór, ar obair gach scoile agus gach ranga dá raibh ann, agus ní mór cuimhniú go maith ar an taobh san den scéal nuair a beifear ag meas an dul-chun-cinn atá déanta ó ritheadh an tAcht Gairm-Oideachais, 1930.

Foirgintí Scol: tháinig athrú mór de bharr an Achta Gairm-Oideachais 1930, ach níl aon ghné den athrú san chomh so-fhaicseanach leis na scoiltithe oiriúnacha dea-riartha a cuireadh ar fáil in ionaid chomhgaracha ar fud na tíre. Má cuirtear na ceithre ContaeBhuirgí agus Buirg Dhún Laoghaire san áireamh, tá 187 scoil den tsaghas sin ann fá láthair, agus is foirgintí nua ar fad 115 díobh sin agus 13 díobh is obair nua go leor den fhoirgint iontu.

Céad agus sé cinn de na foirgintí lán-nua sin agus sé cinn de na foirgintí a fairsingíodh, is i gceanntair na gCoiste Contae ata siad. Tá sé de deagh-thoradh ar sholáthar na bhfoirginti sin go bhfuil fáil anois ag roinnt mhóor de na daoine ar oideachas leanúnach a chuirfeas in oiriúint iad do gach riachtanas dá mbaineann leis an gceanntar ina bhfuil comhnaí orthu. Faoi na forála airgeadais atá sa inBille seo, táthar ag brath fuairim is 100 eile scol-fhoirgint a dhéanamh, agus nuair a bheas said sin curtha ar fáil, is beag nach mbeidh gairm-oideachas i bhfoigseacht chúig míle do gach duine dá bhfuil sa tír.

Sa tréimhse 1930-45, caitheadh £1,084,554 ar dhéanamh nó ar fhairsingiú scoileanna gairm-oideachais, £406,425 den iomlán san cuireadh ar fáil é trí dheontais speisialta a dheoin údaráis áitiúla na rátaí faoi alt 51 den Acht. Fuarthas £495,294 trí iasachtaí a sholáthair na Coistí féin, agus tháinig an £182,880 d'fhuíolach as cisti bhí faoi réir na gCoistí. Tuairim is leath an imláin sin, húsáideadh é leis na scoileanna móra sna Condae-Bhurgaí agus sna baile-cheantair.

Ar íoc an Stát aon chuid den airgead sin?

Is é an socrú atá ann ná go n-íocann an Stát a leath de na costais a bhíonn ar na Coistí ar ball le haghaidh uis agus ciste. Coláiste Tís Mhuire, i Sráid Chathail Brugha i mBaile Atha Cliath, chosnaigh sé tuairim is £110,000 Scoil Tráchtála agus Tís Chorcaighe, chosnaigh sí tuairim is £70,000; scoil speisialta do chailíní i Luimneach, chosnaigh sí tuairim is £20,000, agus bhí tuairim is £50,000 de chostas ag baint leis an socil atáthar tar éis a thógaint i gCabrach.

Mórán de na scoileanna eile, áfach, níl iontu ach foirgintí trí nó cheither seomra agus, idir na tithe féin agus a dtreallamh, níor chosnaigh siad ach ó £2,500 go £5,000 an scoil. Meánchostas an 112 foirgintí nua a rinneadh lasmuigh de na buirgí agus de na baile-cheantair, is lú é na £5,000 an fhoirgint agus, má féachtar ar an gcaoi ina bhfuil costais faoi láthair, ní deacair a fheiscint gur chríonna an bheart do na Coistí Gairm-Oideachais dul ar aghaidh chomh tapaidh agus b'féidir lena scéimeanna foirgníochta nuair a dhí saoghal fábharach ann.

Cúrsaí Lae: I dtosach na hoibre, moladh do phríomh-Oifigigh feadhmannais triaileacha a bhaint as saghsanna éagsúla cútsaí lám-aimsire nó paírt-aimsire agus, de thoradh na dtriail sin, ceapadh cúrasí a chruthaigh go maith. Ó 25 go 28 d'uaireanna gach seachtain a bhí sna cursaí sin, agus chaitá ó thrain an ama san go dtí na leath le hobair phraiticiúil. Nuair a tháinig Seiseon 1935-36, bhí na saghsanna seo leanas cúrsaí lea dhá noibriú go coitianta:—(a) Cúrsa Coireann Oiliúnach (Buachaillí agus Cailíní); (b) Ceard-Chúrsa Sóisearach (Buachaillí); (c) Cúrsa Sóisearach i DTíos (Cailíní), (d) Cúrsa Sóisearach i dTráchtáil (Buachaillí agus Cailinf); (e) Cúrsa Sóisearach Tuaithe (Buachaillf). Na ceithre cúrsaí tosaigh, nó cuid díobh, bhí siad i bhfeidhm sna ContaceBhuirgí agus sna Baile-Cheantair mhóra. Sna ceantair tuaithe, ní raibh bunaithe ach Cúrsaí Sósearacha i dTíos do Cailíní agus Cúrsaí Sósearacha Tuaithe do bhyachaillí.

Furmhór na scol ina bhfuil na cúrsaí seo i bhfeidhm, is láithreáin áitiúla oideachais iad do pháistí a mbíonn an bhun-scoil fágtha aca agus iad ós cionn 14 bliana d'aois. Ghníthear freastal maith ar scoileanna na mbailecheantar mór. Tá obair fhónta oideasach á dhéanamh ag na scoileanna sin, agus cuireann said tréineáil luachmhar ar fáil don aos óg a bhíos ag súil le fostú ar ball.

Táan nós ag fás sna ceantair seo go deé páistí cheithre mblian déag chun na gairm-Scoile sar a dtosnaíonn siad ag obair sa mbaile nó lasmuigh den bhaile, agus fágann sin go bhfuil cuid de na scoileanna chomh lán, cheana, agus is féidir doibh bheith. Go páirteach, tá an nós sin ag fás toise na tuismitheoirí bheith ag tuiscint, do réir a chéile, cad is fiú an t-oideachas seo; ach, go mór-mhór, tá sé ag fás toisc go bhfuil méadú buan ag teacht ar an lion fostaitheoir a bhíos ag iarraidh oibrithe d'fháil ó na scoileanna gairm-oideachais. Is fíor, áfach, gur deacair freastal iomlán d'fháil i gcuid de na scoileanna tuaithe. Caitear cuid de na páistí a ligean á bhfostú toisc a dtuarastal a bheith ag teastáil go géar ó na teaghlaigh ar díobh iad; agus caitear cuid cile a chur ag obair sa mbaile, í séasúir áirithe, toise ná bíonn cúnamh eile le fáil in obair na bhfeirm. Ach. dá ainneoin sin, is deimhin go mbeadh an freastal i bhfad ní ba bhuaine, dá dtuigeadh na daoine a riachtanaí atá sé a thuilleadh oideachais a thabhairt don aos óg sar a gcuirtear ag saothrú a mbeatha iad sa mbaile, nó as an mbaile. Is áthas liom, áfach, bheith i ndon a rádh go bhfuil feabhas ag teacht ar an scéal le dó nó trí de bhlianta.

Aithníodh, do réir a chéile, ar an obair gurbh iad na Cúrsaí leanúnacha lán-aimsire a b'fhearr toradh, agus, i Meitheamh 1942, chuir an Roinn amach Meamram V 40, ina bhfuil cur-síos ar na cuspóirí agus ar na modhanna oibre is cóil a bheith ag Oideachas leanúnach.

Scoileanna Tuaithe: Sna buirg agus ina lán de na baile-cheantair mhóra, bhí scoileanna tar éis bheith ag obair ar feadh roinnt blian, agus bhí cúrsaí lae acu a bhí cosúil leis na cúrsaí lae atá ann faoi láthair, ach go raidh siad ar scála i bhfad ní ba lú. Chuir Acht 1930 i gcumas na scol sin cuid mhaith fairsingithe agus feabhsuithe a dhéanamh ar na háiseanna a bhí acu cheana, agus thárla, dá bharr sin, gurbh iad na baile-cheantair ba thré a bhí ag éileamh cúnta ar na Coistí Contae sna chéad blianta a bhí an t-Acht i bhfeidhm. San am céanna sin, ní dearnadh ach fíor-bheagán chun áiseanna Gairm-Oideachais a chur ar fáil sna ceantair tuaithe. Tar é is bliain a 1935 is ea tonsnaíodh i gceart ar thithe scoile a dhéanamh agus ar chúrsaí leanúnacha lán-aimsire d'eagrú sna ceantair sin. Ar dtúis, níor cuireadh mórán dalta chun na scol seo, óir ní ró-thapaidh a tháinig léargas chun muintir na tuaithe ar an sochar a d'fhéadfadh a gclann a bhaint as na cúrsaí nua. Do réir a chéile, áfach, bhítheas ag aithneachtáil an tsochair sin ar dheagh-obair na scol, agus d'fhéadfaí a rá, i Seisiún a 1939-40, go raibh an ghairm-Scoil Tuaithe tar éis ionad buan di féin a bhaint amach i gcóras Ghairm-Oideachas na tíre. Tá 98 scoileanna den tsaghas sin ann faoi láthair, agus tá garradhanta lena n-ais ag 90 díobh sin. Caitear níos mó na leath an scol-ama le habhair a bhfuil dlúth-bhaint aca le hobair ar an talamh agus i dtithe na tuaithe.

I dteannta na n-abhar coitianta, tugtar teagase do na buachaillí ar Eolaíocht Tuaithe, ar Obair Adhmaid, ar Líníocht agus ar Mhatamaitic Cheardúil, agus tugtar teagase do na cailíní ar Chócaireacht, ar Obair Shnáthaide, ar Níochán, ar Bhainisteoireacht Tí agus ar Eolaíocht Tís. Sa gcúrsa ar Eolaíocht Tuaithe, féachtar do gach ceann de na prionsabail is mó tábhacht sa bhFeirmeoireacht; sa gcúrsa ar Eolaíocht Tís tugtar aire do gach bun-eolas a theastódh ó chailín chun an tuiscint cheart a bheith aici ar obair mná ina teach féin.

Ó leath-acra go dtí dhá acra an t-achar atá sna scol-gharradhanta, agus baineann na trí cuspóirí seo leo:— (1) Chun triaileacha a bhaint as ithreacha, as leasa, as síolta, as plandaí, as spréidheáil agus as modhanna éagsúla oibre; (2) Chun glasraí agus tortha a chur ar fáil do na cailíní i gcistin na scoile; (3) Chun an garrdha féin a bheith do réir modha agus eagair a spreagfas na daltaí chun an deagh-eagar agus an deagh-chuma a choinneáil ar a n-áiteanna féin sa bhaile.

Ní hionann agus brainsí eile oideachais, is riachtanach a thuiscint, sa chas seo, nach í an scoil atá ina haonad ach an ceantar máguairt ar feadh sé nó seacht de mhílte, agus is riachtanach a thuiscint gur le haghaidh na ndaoine go léir atá an scoil ann agus nach amháin le haghaidh an aosa óig a bhíos tar éis an bhun-scoil a fhágaint.

Go coitianta, bíonn ceithre múinteoirí lán-aimsire ann-múinteoir in Obair Láimhe, múinteoir i dTíos, múinteóir a theagascas Gaeilge maraon le habhair eile, agus múinteóir a bhfuil céim aige in Eolaiocht Talmhaíochta agus a bhíos, de ghnáthe, i gceannas na scoile. Bonní an ceathrar páirteach in obair na lá-Scoile agus, ina theannta sin, bíonn ranganna tráthnóna acu sa scoil féin agus i láithreáin eile so scoil-cheantar. Sa chaoi sin, tugtar riar d'ocht láithreáin faoi seach, agus tugtar Gairm-Oideachas i geóngar daoine fásta atá ina geomhnaí ró-fhada ón lár-scoil chun dul chun na ranganna a bhíos ansin.

Chun treoir thabhairt do mhúinteoirí Eolaíocht Tuaihe, ehuir an Roinn meamram amach i mbliain a 1944. Cuireadh sa Mheamram sin an t-eolas a bhí fachta cheana de thoradh na hoibre agus, ina theannta sin, bhi treoracha agus cláir oibre ann maidir le cúrsaí na céá bliana agus na darabliana, agus maidir leis an gcaoi cheart chun scol-gharrdha a leagan amach.

Na ranganna tráthnóna in Eolaíocht Talmhaíochta a cuireadh ar bun sna blianta seo caite, tá sé cruthaithe acu gur mhaith a b'fhiú iad a thionnscnamh sna Gairm-Scioleanna Tuaithe. Tagann feirmeoirí agus a gcuid oibrithe chun na gcomhthionól seo, agus ghníthear cainnt agus díospóireachta ar phríomh-phronsabail na heolaíochta a bhaineas le feirmeoireacht. Saghas fhónta oideachais do dhaoine fásta é seo, agus féadfaí a úsáid ar shlite a raghadh chun sochair do gach dream de mhuintir na tuaithe.

Ceard-Oideachas: I gcóras an Cheard-Oideachais, freisin, rinneadh áthraithe chomh fónta leis na nithe atá luaite agam. Tar éis 1930, thosnaigh na Coistí Gairm-Oideachais ar shaothar na scol a thabhairt ní ba dhlúithe in oiriúint do riachtanais tionscail a gceantar, agus thosnaíodar ag fairsingiú an teagaisc a tugtar do lucht ceirde agus do lucht oibre speisialta i monarchain. Chuir na Ceard-Scoileanna chun ranganna speisialta a chur ar fáil a thabharfadh tréineáil d'oibrithe a bhí fostaithe, nó a bhféadfaí a bhfostú, san iomad tionscal nua a bunaíodh sa tír seo le blianta gairide anuas. Tháinig a leithéidí sin de ranganna le chéile sna gairm-Scoileanna nó sna monarchain féin. Imeasc na gceard agus na dtionscal a bhfuil na ranganna ag dul chun sochair dóibh tá Déantóireacht aliminium, Déantóireacht Bróg, Déantóireacht Chnaipí, Criadóireacht, Obair Bhiatais, Súdaireacht, Déantoireacht Miotal-Shreang, agus Tionscail na hOlla. De bharr na rang sin, tháinig feabhas ar lámh-thoradh na n-oibrí a bhí oilte cheana féin agus, ina theannta sin, is ioma monarcha a bhí i ndon tosnú go luath ar tháirgeadh toisc a cuid oibrí a bheith tréineáilte roimh ré ag na Coistí Gairm-Oideachais.

Maraon leis na scéimeanna sealadacha sco, cuireadh ar bun scéimeanna eile chun tréineáil bhliantúil a thabhairt d'oibrithe nó do phrintísigh. Formhór na scéim seo, tá said i bhfeidhm sna scoileanna Gairm-Oideachais atá faoi stiúradh ag Coiste Gairm-Oideachais Chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath, agus baineann siad lena leithéidí seo de Chearda-Déantóireacht Bróg, Saoirseacht Brící, Obair Adhmaid agus Siúinéireacht, Cócaireacht Tithe Ósta, Oibriú gléas Cinema, Trealmhaireacht Leictreach, Péinteáil agus Maisiú, Dóireacht, Obair Luaidhe Clódóireacht, Táilliúireacht agus Déantóireacht Uaireadóir. Sceimeanna an-shuimiúla uad an scéim chun tréineáil a thabhairt do phrintísigh i Monarchain Bhiatais, an scéim le haghaidh phrintísigh don Bhord Soláthair Leictreachais agus an scéim a ceapadh le gairid do phrintísigh Chumann na MótarThrádóirí Éireannach. Is den ghrúpa seo, freisin, Meiceánaicithe an AerFhórsa, agus toghtar triocha díobh sin, gach bliain, as na buachaillí a chríochnaigh dhá bhliain de Cheard-Chúrsa Sóisearach sna Scoileanna Gairm-Oideachais. Maidir le printísigh Chóras Iompair Éireann, tá scéim leathan tréineála dhá tabhairt chun foirfeachta ag Roinn na bhFoireann den Chóras agus ag na húdaráis scol i gcomhar le chéile. Nuair a bheas an scéim seo á hoibriú ina hiomláine, béidh suas le 500 printíseach faoi n-a réir i gCathair Bhaile Átha Cliath féin. Táthar tar éis buan-scéimeanna a leagan amach chun tréineáil a thabhairt do phrintísigh le Déantóireacht Troscáin, le Gruaig-Dheisiú, agus le Péinteáil agus Maisiú, i gCathair Bhaile Átha Cliath, agus tána scéimeanna seo faio rialacháin na gCoiste a bunaíodh faoi Acht Printíseachta 1931.

Sna Condae-Bhuirgí agus i gcuid de na baile-cheantair mhóra, ceapadh scéimeanna faoi leith do dhaoine ar mhian leo teastais a fháil ó na hInstitiúidí Foirgníochta, nó Innealtóireachta, nó Runaíochta, nó Fógraíochta, no Cuntasaíochta.

Do réir mar chuaidh an cheardtréineáil i bhfeabhas, d'éirigh sé riachtanach caighdeáin áirithe cháilíochta a cheapadh mar mhaithe leis na fostaitheoirí agus leis na hoibrithe in éineacht; agus, ar an abhar sin, chuir an Roinn ar bun córas nua scrúdúchán i gcóir teastas, i mbliain a 1936. Tá na teastais seo roinnte ina ndá shaghas—teastais cheardaíochta agus teastais tráchtála—agus tá a n-iarrthóirí ag dul go buan i líonmhireacht ó rinneadh an córas nua scrúdúchán a thionnscnamh.

Cuid V. Maidir le cúrsaí.éigeantacha páirt-aimsire den tsaghas a bhfuil trácht orthu i gCuid V d'Acht Gairm-Oideachais 1930, táthar á dtriail i gCathair Choreaighe ó bhliain a 1938, agus i gCathair Luimnigh ó bhliain a 1942. Sa dá chathair sin tá freastal ar chúrsaí leanúnacha d'iachall ar bhuachaillí agus ar chailíní atá idir 14 agus 16 bliana d'aois agus gan iad ag freastal ar aon lá-scoil aitheanta. Tá 180 scoiluair i ngach seiseon de na cúrsaí seo, agus teagasctar iontu na habhair is gnáthach bheith i gcúrsaí leanúnacha, maraón le hobair láimhe do bhuachailli-agus tíos do chailíní. Tá 36 seachtainí sa tseiseon, agus bíonn na daltaí i láthair ar feadh chúig n-uair, láamháin i ngach seachtain. I gCathair amháin i ngach seachtain. I gCathair Chorcaighe, tá 900 dalta ag freastal ná gcúrsa seo, gach bliain ó 1938, agus chuaidh lion na ndalta thar 600 i gCathair Luimnigh.

Ní hí seo an chéad uair dhom cuntas a thabhairt don Dáil i dtaobh na dtriail sin. Ní gá dhom éinní a rá, an uair seo, ach go bhfuil sé cruthaithe gur mhaith a b'fhiú na trialeacha a dhéanamh, agus go bhfuarthas tríothu eolas a bheas an-úsáideach nuair a beifear ag socrú ceist árduithe na scolaoise. Táthar ar intinn na cúrsaí seo a chur i bhfeidhm i mBaile-cheantair eile, agus tuigim go mbeidh Coiste Gairm-Oideachais Phortláirge ullamh chun a leithéid a chur i bhfeidhm sa chathair sin i Mí Eanair seo chugainn. Ba é an Stát a d'íocadh lán-chostas na gcúrsa seo ar dtúis, ach tá siad anois ina bpáirt aitheanta de scéimeanna Gairm-Oideachais na gceantar ina bhfuilid i bhfeidhm.

Comhairle le Leas Óige: I gCathair Bhaile Á Cliath, chuathas i mbun triaileach cile ná fuil neamh-chosúil ar fad lc scéimeanna úd Chorcaighe agus Luimnigh. Ach ní bhaincann aon fhreastal éigeantach leis an scéim seo. I mbliain a 1942, chuir an Coiste Gairm-Oideachais fo-choiste ar oun chun láithreáin tréineála a eagrú do dhaoine óga a bhí gan fostú, agus is ar m'achaine-se a rinne siad sin. Séard is cuspóir do na láithreáin seo, áiseaona oideachais agus caitheamh-aimsire a chur ar fáil, féachaint an laghdódh siad sin droch-iarsmaí an díomhaointis agus an dístiúrtha imease ógánaigh na cathrach. Tuarim is 500 buachaill atá idir 14 agus 16 bliana d'aois, tagann siad chun an dá láithreán.

Ina theannta sin, tá comh-cheangal leis an gComhairle déanta ag 31 cumann buachaillí agus ag seacht gcumann cailíní, agus féadfaí a rá gur tré na cumainn sin a ghníthear an mhórchuid d'obair na comhairle. Mar sin de, baineann obair na Comhairle le breis agus 2,500 buachaill agus le breis agus 600 cailín.

Tréineáil Múinteoir Ó thainig an méadú mór ar aiseanna Gairm-Oideachais de thoradh Achta 1930, ba riachtanach fóirne líonmhara muinteoirí a thréineáil, agus b'é ba mhian leis an Roinn go mbeadh na múinteoirí sin chomh dea-cháilithe agus b'fhéidir. Fuarthas roinnt áirithe ó na hOllscoileanna, ach b'í an roinn féin a thréineáil a bhfórmhór mór, agus rinneadh sin tri ghearr-chúrsaí dian-thréineála nó tri chúrsaí eile a mhair dó nó tri de bhlianta.

Sa tréimhse 1930-45, cuireadh 500 le líon na múinteoirí lán-aimsire—tuairim is 250 do Thíos, tuairim is 100 d'obair adhmaid, tuairim is 100 d'Eolaíocht Tuaithe agus tuairim is 50 d'Obair Mhiotail. Ba riachtanach líon na múinteoirí Tí a bheith mór, toisc go geaitheann ban-mhúinteoirí éirí as an obair nuair a phósas siad. I Seiseon 1932-33, bhí 649 de na múinteoirí lanaimsire fostaithe, agus chuir siad isteach 445, 113 d'uaireanna teagaise. I Seisiún 1944-45, bhi 988 múinteoirí lán-aimsire ann, agus chuir siad sin isteach 728,497 d'uaireanna teagaisc. Ina theannta sin, bhí 766 múinteoirí páirt-aimsire ag obair agus chuir siad isteach 226,360 d'naireanna teagaisc. Gach bliain, bíonn ath-chursaí áirithe ann faoi stiúradh na Roinne, chun go mebeidh caoi ag na múinteoirí bheith ar chomh-chéim le dul-chun-cinn na n-abhar a bhíos á dteagase acu.

Maidir leis an nGaeilge ní gá dom a rá ach gur tosnaíodh go luath ar chúrsaí samhraidh i nGaeilge d'eagrú do ghairm-mhúinteoirí ague, i mbliain a 1932, tionnscnadh an scrúdúchán le haghaidh an Cheard-Teastais Ghaeilge. Faoi na scémeanna Gairm-Oideachais, b'é sin an cháilíocht a caitheadh a bheith ag múinteoirí in abhair eile lasmuigh den Ghaeilge, agus is riachtanach anois é a bheith ag na gairmmhúinteoirí lán-aimsire fó léir, beagnach.

Maidir le teagasc na Gaeilge féin, níor mheas an Roinn go raibh dul-chun-cinn sáthach maithe á dhéanamh faoi na scéimeanna gairm-oideachais, agus tionnscnadh cúrsaí speisialta chun múinteoirí a thréineáil sna modhanna teagaisc is fearr, agus chun a dtréineáil i saghsanna eile oibre a measadh a bheith riachananch chun labhairt na teangan a chur ar aghaidh mar be cheart. Ar fud na tíre faoi láthair, tá na múinteorí seo ag cur sprid nua sna ranganna Gaeílge. Gach bliain, tugtat socláireachta do 600 dalta, nó mar sin, chun a chur ar a gcumas freastal, ar feadh míosa, ar chúrsaí speisialta sa Ghaeltacht.

Airgeadas an Gairm-Oideachais. Is é is priomh-chuspóir don Bhille seo ná oiread breis-chistí a sholáthar do choistí gairm-oideachais agus chuirfeas ár a gcumas comhlíonadh a dhéanamh ar na feidhmeanna atá leagtha amach do gach Coiste in Acht 1930, viz.:-

"(a) córas oiriúnach d'oideachas leanúnach a bhunú a bhuanú do réir an Achta ina gceantar féin, agus soláthar a dhréanamh chun a leithéid sin de chóras a thabhairt i bhforás, diaidh ar ndiaídh;

(b) soláthar, nó soláthar-i-gcabhair, a dhéanamh le haghaidh ceárdoideachas ina gceantar féin do réir an Achta."

Mar sin de, ba mhaith liom anois gearr-achoimre a thabhairt don Dáil ar na forála airgeadais áta in Acht 1930. Do réir an Achta sin, d'fhéadfadh Coistí Gairm-Oideachais suas go dtí 6p. sa £1 de shíntiúis a fháil as na rátaí áitiúla sna ceithre contae-bhuirgí agus sna seacht mBaile-Cheantair atá sceidealta san Acht, agus d'fheadfaí suas go dtí 4p. sa £1 a fháil i geás na gCoiste Contae. Bhí deontais ón Stát iníoctha, freisin, agus socraíodh ar ball gurbh é bheadh iontu sin ná (1) bun-deontas a rialófaí do réir an mhéid Stát-Chúnta a bhí á fháil ag an gCoiste roimh 1930, agus (2) breis-deontas a bhead do réir an méid ráta a fuarthas de bhreis ar minimum áirithe. (3p. an minimum ba ghnáthach bheith sna cathracha agus sna mó r-bhailte, agus sna Contaethe). £1 in aghaidh gach £1 de ráta áitiúil an breis-deontas sna Contaethe agus i gCathair Bhaile Átha Cliath; £4 in aghaidh an £1 atá sna baile-cheantair sceidealth, agus £2 in aghaidh an £1 i nDún Laoghaire. Níorbh fhéidir, áfach, an síntiús áitiúil a mheadú ach do réir 1/4p. gach bliain agus, ar an ábhar san, ní raibh an 4p. de shíntiús áitiúil le fáil ag na Coistí Contae go dtí an bhliain airgeadais dar tosach an 1ú Aibreán, 1940; agus ní raibh an 6p. de shíntiús áitiúil le fáil sna cathracha agus sna mór-bhailte go dtí an bhliain airgeadais dar tosach an 1ú Aibreán, 1942.

Ach ní raibh sé d'fhiachaibh ar na Coistí na breis-rátaí sin a thógaint— agus ní bheidh anois. Ina theannta sin, fhéadfaí gan an breis-ráta a cheadúin aon-chor, dá meastaí ná raibh sé riachtanach; agus bhí cumhacht a choiscithe ar an abhar sin ag an Aire Oideachais, agus an cumhacht cheanna ag fo-choistí áitiúla na meastachán—fo-choistí ar a mbíodh ionadaithe na n-údarás áitiúil. Tuigfear ón méid sin go gcoinnítear stiúir dheimhin ar fhórás an ghairm-oideachas i ngach ceantar. Go fírinneach, ní raibh na maxima sroiste ach I gceithre Chonndae agus i gceithre bhaile-cheanntar ar na dátaí atá luaite agam.

I mbliain a 1930, measadh ná beadh na maxima sroiste agus ná béadh an scéim i bhfeidhm ina hiomláine go ceann 15 bliana nó go ceann fiche blian. Mar sin de, rinneadh soláthar do 6p. de maximum do na Coistí go léir sa gcéad dréacht den Acht, ach ní shroisfeadh na Coistí Contae an maximum sin go dtí an bhliain dar tosach an lú Aibreá, 1947. Nuair a bhí an bille á bhreathnú i gCoiste, i 1930, ghlac an t-Aire Oideachais le leasú a laghdaigh maximum na gContae go dtí 4p. sa £1 agus a laghdaigh an tréimhse shroiste go dtí an lú Aibreán, 1940; ach ba mhian leis go ndéanfaí an cheist a athbhreithniú i ndeireadh na tréimhse sin, agus dúirt sé go raibh "gan amhrais, roinnt nithe eile sa mBille a dteastódh leasú uathu i mbliain a 1940." Dúirt tairgeoir an rúin:

"Gidh go stadfaidh íocaíochta faoi'n Acht i 1940, níl fáth ar bith ná tabharfaí isteach Bille leasúcháin, an uair sin, chun an tsuim a mhéadú agus a bhúanú go dtí 1947."

Is amhlaidh atáim ag trácht ar na nithe sin anois sa chaoi a mbeidh a fhios agaibh cad é an chuspóir a bhí ag údair an Achta agus cad a mheasadar ba chóir a dhéanamh nuair a gheobhfaí a thuilleadh eolais trí oibriú an Achta. I mbliain a 1944, bhí Bille (Leasúcháin) Gairm-Oideachais againn, agus baineadh feidhm as chun 1p. sa £1 de bhreis-ráta a fháil do na Coistí a rabh an maximum sroiste acu agus ar theastaigh níos mó uathu mar gheall ar an méadú caiteachais a thárla ann de bharr na héigeandalá— go háirithe sa mheid a bhain leis an mBónas Costais Maireachtana agus leis an mBónas Eigeandála.

Faoi láthair, tá na maxima sroiste ag 12 de na 27 Coistí Contae agus ag 5 den 11 Coiste Baile-Cheantair; agus, lasmuigh de Chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath, is beag ná fuil deireadh foráis curtha i gcrích ag na Baile-Cheantair, do réir an scála atá anois ann. Ach tá a lán le déanamh sna Contaethe go léir beagnach, sar a bhféadfar a rá go bhfuil áiseanna gairm-oideachais curtha ar fáil do thromlach mhór na ndaoine. Mar adúirt mé cheana, tá tuairim is céad scol-fhoirgint nua le déanamh go fóill. Ní bheidh ina bhformhór sin ach ó 2 go dtí 4 seomraí, agus bhéarfaidh siad gairm-oideachas isteach i gceantair ná raibh a leithéid iontu cheana féin, cé's moite de ghearr-chúrsaí anois agus arís. Deacrachta aimsir an chogaidh, níor leig siad don ghairm-oideachas dul ar aghaidh i mBaile Átha Cliath sa chaoi ina mbeadh sé ar chomh-chéim le mear-fhás na cathrach ó taobh achair agus ó thaobh daonra; agus caithfear, ar a laghad, cúig nó sé cinn nua de scoileanna réigiúnacha a dhéanamh in aghaidh an éilimh atá ar chúrsaí deontacha Gairm-Oideachais ar fud na cathrach. Pé scéal é, tá dianaire á tabhairt do na riachtanais seo ag Coiste Gairm-Oideachais na Cathrach, agus táthar ag ullmhú chun na háiseanna atá ag teastáil a sholáthar comh luath agus bhéas fáil ar abhair foirgneamh agus ar threalamh scol.

Ba mhaith liom feidhm a bhaint as an ócáid seo freisin chun buíochas a thabhairt go poiblí do Choiste Gairm-Oideachais Chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath. D'ainneoin a mbíonn de ghnó lena gcuid foirgint agus a mbíonn d'obair ag a gcuid foireann, tugann siad áiseanna agus cúnamh luachmhar don Roinn i gcónaí, maidir le tréineáil múinteoirí le haghaidh an GhairmOideachais. Go dearfa, ba rí-deacair, ar feadh na gcúig mblian déag seo caite, uimhir sáthach mór múinteoirí a thréineáil don Ghairm-Oideachas, mura mbeadh na háiseanna speisialta a fuarthas ón gCoiste sin, maraon le húsáid a bhfoirgint breá scol agus le comhairle na n-eolgach atá ar a gcuid foireann.

San ócáid chéanna seo, is ceart dom, freisin, moladh a thabhairt do na Coistí Gairm-Oideachais, do na Príomh-Oifigigh Feidhmiúcháin agus do na Múinteoirí Gairm-Oideachais ar a fheabhas a chuir siad cuspóirí Achta 1930 i gcrich. Obair ghlan-deontach an obair a ghní na Coistí, agus ba deacrachta nua ar fad a lán de na fadhbanna a bhí le réiteach acu féin agus ag a bhfóirne agus, má cuimhnítear air sin, táim cinnte go n-aontófar go bhfuil buíochas an phobail í gcoitinne tuillte acu mar gheall ar an gcaoi ina ndearna siad a gcuid oibre agus a dtug siad an Gairm-Oideachas san éifeacht ina bhfuil sé anois.

Maidir liom féin go pearsanta, táim cinnte gur beag an méid comhlucht poiblí atá níos dúthrachtaí ná na Coistí Gairm-Oideachais nó a thug seirbhís níos fearr don Náisiún, go háirithe i rith na hEigeandála. Ina theannta sin, creidim go deimhin go bhfuil na Scéimeanna anois sa riocht ina bhféadfaid teacht chun bheith ina gcóras sáréifeachtach Gairm-Oideachais; agus, nuair a bheas lán-fheidhm á bhaint astu ag an bpobal, is é mo mheas go mbeidh siad ina bpáirt an-tábhachtach de sheirbhís oideasach a bhéas comh maith, i ngach slí, leis na seirbhísí is cuspóir don reachtúchán atá déanta ag Rialtais eile.

Ba mhaith liom cúpla focal a rá faoi na hAilt sa Bhille. Mar adúirt mé faoi Alt a 2, tá socrú á dhéanamh againn ansin faoi chúrsaí airgid. 6d. sa phunt i gcás Contae Bhuirgí agus Baile-Ceanntair faoi sceideal agus 4d. sa phunt i gcás limistéirí Contae, sin í an íocaíocht bhliantúil a bhí iníocha ag na húdaráis áitiúla faoin Acht Oideachais Ghairme Beatha, 1930. Fritheadh amach sa bhlian 1944 gur theastaigh tuilleadh airgid ó Choistí chun na seirbhísí a bhí ar bun acu a choinneáil ar siúl agus chun socrú a dhéanamh i dtaobh a gcuid scéimeanna a leathnú. Dá bhrí sin, faoin Acht a ritheadh sa bhliain 1944 do hárdaíodh an ráta sin thuas go dtí 7d. sa phunt sna Contae-Bhuirgí agus 5d. sa phunt sna Coistí Contae. An bhreis airgid a fritheadh de thoradh na rátaí sin maraon leis an gcabhair airgid a thug an Stát uaidh, do hídíodh an chuid is mó dhe de bharr an mhéaduithe a tháinig ar an gcostas maireachtana agus ar an mBónas Éigeandála a híocadh le múinteoirí agus le hoifigigh eile de chuid na gCoistí. Tá tuilleadh airgid ag teastáil anois chun bail a chur ar scéimeanna atá beartaithe cheana féin, ach nár mhór moill a chur orthu le linn tréimhse an chogaidh, agus chun socrú a dhéanamh i gcóir na scéimeanna a bhfuil tagairt déanta agam dóibh cheana féin.

Meastar go mbeidh 2d. sa phunt sa bhreis ag teastáil, agus tá beartaithe gan ach 1/2d. sa phunt de mhéadú a leagan in aghaidh na bliana agus go dtosnófar sa bhliain 1947-1948.

Tá beartaithe in Alt a 3 beárna a bhí i seirbhís inphinsin oide de chuid Choisde Chathair Luimnigh a dhúnadh. Idir 1919 agus 1923 a tharla an bheárna sin agus seo mar a tharla: le linn réim an tSasanaigh do shocraigh an Coiste a bhí ann san am—Coiste CeardOideachais Luimnigh—ná beadh aon bhaint acu feasta leis anDepartment of Agriculture and Technical Instruction ach go bhfeidhmeoidis faoi Dháil Éireann. Cuireadh an socrú sin i bhfeidhm agus leanadar orthu ag obair go ceann bliana nó mar sin agus níor tosnaíodh arís go dtí 1923. Lean an t-oide atá i gceist ag obair faoin gCoiste le linn dóibh bheith ag feidhmiú faoin Dáil agus fostaíodh aris é nuair a thosnaigh an Coiste arís.

An rud atá beartaithe in Alt a 4 is de dhruim an tsocraithe a rinne Coiste Luimnigh—feidhmiú faoi scáth na Dála sa bhliain 1919—a tharla se. Dhiúltaigh an chuid is mó den fhoirinn leanúint i seirbhis an Choiste tar éis an athraithe seo agus do tugadh uas-phinsin nó uas-aisci dhoibh faoi Alt 8 denLocal Government Act, 1919. Rinneadh socrú faoin Acht Cúiteamh Oifigeacha Áitiúla (Tréimhse Cogaidh), 1924, I gcóir na niocaíocht sin as Cisti an Stáit. D'éirigh leis an gCoiste oidi eile a fháil le leanacht den obair faoi scáth na Dála agus ar na hOidí sin bhi Oide Adhmadóireachta a thug suas a cheart chun pinsin a fháil faoi Acht 1919 i ngeall ar gur éirigh sé as an bpost a bhí aige faoi choiste cheard-Oideachais eile (.i. Coiste Chontae Mhuigheo). Nuair a cuireadh deireadh le feidhmiú an Choiste ní raibh post ar bith ag an oifigeach seo ar feadh scathaimh.

Sa bhliain 1921 fuair sé post faoi Choiste Cheard-Oideachais na Mídhe. An bhliain ina dhiaidh sin fuair sé post faoi Bhord na nOibreacha Poiblí agus rinneadh post seasta dhe sa bhliain 1925. Tá sé ar tí dul ar phinsean anois agus ó thárla nach féidir an tseirbhís a thug sa faoi Údarás Áitiúil a chur san áireamh i gcóir pinsin sa Stát-Sheirbhís—seirbhís ná téann thar 20 blian— ceaptar go bhfuil sé tuillte aige go gcuirfí an méid pinsin a bheadh ag dul dó as a sheirbhís faoi Údaráis Áitiúla san áireamh freisin. £68 an tsuim atá leagtha amach san alt agus tá sin bunaithe ar sheirbhis thrí mblian déag. Déanfaí leath na suime seo a íoc thar n-ais leis an íocóir as Chiste an Stáit agus d'íocfadh na húdaráis sin a raibh sé mar oide acu síntiúis freisin.

Séard atá beartaithe in Alt a 5 réiteach a dhéanamh ar amhrais a tharla faoi fhorála Alt 6, 7 agus 8 den Acht Ghairm Oideachais (Leasú), 1944, maidir leis an mbaint atá ag na forála sin le hOifigigh de chuid na Sean-Choistí Chéard-Oideachais a haistríodh chuig na Coisdí Gairm-Oideachais faoi Alt 99 d'Acht 1930.

Baineann Alt a 6 le costais taistil agus táimid chun an scéim cheanna a oibriú. Do rinne Alt 67 den Acht Rialtais Áitiúil, 1946, leasú ar an dlí a bhain le costais taistil a íoe le baill de Chomhairlí Contae. In a theannta sin, tá socrú á dhéanamh go n-íocfar ráta seasta do réir an mhíle agus go bhféadfar liúntas a íoe le baill a chomhnaigh níos mó ná tri mhile ó áit an chruinnithe. Sílim go bhfuil an tAlt sin ann cheana do bhaill na mbárdas áitiúla faoin Roinn Rialtais Áitiúil, agus nilimíd ach ag chur an gairm-oideachas ar an dul céanna ó thaobh costais taistil dhe.

The Minister has been at great pains to give us a historical review of the development of technical and vocational education in this country, both before and since the Principal Act of 1930 was passed. While the historical review may in itself be very entertaining reading, I feel that it was given to us more for the purpose of hiding the implications of this Bill than of enabling us to tackle the problem of vocational education in the country. I look upon vocational education as a system which will give us good Christian technicians whether they are to be managers, skilled artisans or workers, and whether their work is to be performed on the land or in industry. Nowhere in the Minister's statement is there any evidence that his Department is facing up to the realities of the situation here. We are, industrially, one of the most backward countries in the world. At the same time, we are engaged on a big industrial development programme, and all forms of industry are being encouraged here. While that development is taking place, the Department which the Minister controls is lagging miles behind. There is no effort so far as I can see to give us a system which will enable the agriculturist and the industrialist to command technical skill. The position of our country at the moment is that we are exporting human beings, and that at the same time our industries and our agriculture are striving to find skilled labourers, skilled managers and skilled men of all kinds. We have certain native talent here but it is largely untrained. A good many of our industrialists, for example, have not the tradition of industry behind them that you get in Great Britain or on the Continent, and we are not doing anything to fill the gap, the historical gap if you like, created by the peculiarities of our history. We are not doing anything effectively to fill that gap. We have had from the Minister a long report of the various developments that have taken place to supply skilled artisans to cater for various trades. When it is all boiled down, I would ask him to tell the House how many hundred of these we can call upon in the morning for industrial employment.

The policy of the Minister's Department during past years has been to cut down trade scholarships. So far as I am aware, they have been discontinued at a time when industry is seeking everywhere to get skilled men so that Irish industrialists are compelled to go abroad for skilled technicians and skilled management. There are no trade scholarships to-day, or if there are I would like to hear of them. These trade scholarships have been abandoned, and the money in respect of them has been turned over to scholarships for Irish, of which some 600 are given out every year. I put it seriously to the Minister that it is not the purpose or the objective of the Department of Education to promote Irish in technical schools, or in vocational schools as they are called now.

I hold that the main bias of training in these schools should be entirely technical, entirely towards providing skilled labour and, as I have said, skilled people who will control labour. If we are to have satisfactory relations in this country between management and worker, it is as essential to train men to be competent to take charge in a factory and workshop as it is to turn out the skilled man who is to make goods under his supervision. We are not getting that. I would challenge the Minister to produce figures to show what is his policy in that direction. In 1936 there were about two trade schools catering for apprentices in France dealing with a handful of apprentices. To-day, in France, despite what has happened in the intervening years, some 80,000 men and women are trained in trade schools. I give that as one example of what might be done here in a short space of time. I am not suggesting that the conditions are similar in any way but if in ten years France could have jumped from a few hundred apprentices in their trade schools to 80,000, surely we could have done something since 1930 to develop on the same lines? I say we have not developed on these lines to anything like the extent we could have if we were serious about the matter.

There is a very good reason why we have not so developed. A great portion of the curriculum in the vocational schools is devoted to rectifying defects in the education of the pupils coming from the primary schools. There is no co-ordination between the primary school system and the vocational school system or indeed between the primary school, the vocational school, the secondary school and the university. There is certainly not the development here that has taken place in England, France and Germany, from the primary school to the technical school, from the technical school to the technological institute and then to the university. If outside a couple of professions, such as agriculture, our educated young men and women, our university graduates want a highly technical training they have to go abroad for it. That is our position, and I shall give facts and figures to prove that contention.

I hold that up to now vocational education has been the Cinderella of the services under the Minister's control, that it has been starved by State policy of the money it needs. There is something between four and five million pounds devoted to primary schools and you have something like 13,000 school teachers in connection with these schools. A sum of £550,000 odd is put up by the State for secondary education, for some 40,000 odd pupils. Mark you, the majority of these pupils come from parents who are in a position to pay for the education of their children. When I make an analogy between the amount given to secondary education and vocational education, I want it to be clearly borne in mind that there is no similarity in the social conditions of the pupils attending secondary schools and the pupils attending technical institutes. You get the position where something over half a million pounds is devoted to 40,000 children in the secondary schools and of those 40,000 children, some 1,376 have got to the secondary school by means of scholarships from the primary schools.

I want to know where is the means by which the poor man's child will get from the primary school to the type of technical education which I have in mind, the type of technical education which will give him a career either as a skilled worker, a skilled technician or as a manager. You find this position in technical education. A very slightly increased grant is set aside for vocational education.

The amount all told is £577,374 and the number of pupils is 60,000 odd. The number of teachers is somewhere about 900 whole-time and 700 part-time, whereas in the secondary schools there are 3,300 odd teachers. The State itself puts up only some £300,000 odd by way of a grant. I hold these figures show clearly that vocational education in this country is the Cinderella of the Department. The Minister and his Department are merely tinkering with the fringes of this problem. There is a definite demand from agriculture to get skilled labourers, skilled workers, skilled agriculturists. There is definitely even a bigger demand for the skilled manager, the trained manager—and when I say trained manager, I mean not merely trained in the technique of his job but the man who has a proper Christian, social outlook that will enable him to be a good manager and to maintain decent relations with his workers. That training is missing here. It is very badly needed, and industry is crying out for it.

I said that there is a definite reason for the position which obtains here. In the first place you have the State starving vocational education. In the second place, you have the State failing to turn out from the primary schools pupils who are sufficiently educated to derive any real benefit from the first year or two of vocational education. What I am stating is proved by statistics of the Minister's own Department. You have first of all the position in the technical school where the vast majority of pupils coming from the primary school have to be put into the preparatory course. There technical teachers have to do the job of the primary teacher—to improve the pupil sufficiently in his knowledge of arithmetic and even of English, not to speak of other subjects, to enable him to derive any benefit from the vocational system.

Not only that, but the results of the examinations held by the Minister's Department of these preparatory group pupils are so bad that they do not publish them. The majority of these pupils have failed. The majority of pupils in rural science and kindred courses, so far as I can recollect, are failures. If that is not an indictment of the Minister's Department and an indication of the complete failure of our system of education, I cannot conceive what it is.

I want to put it to the Minister quite frankly that our whole system of education has to be revised. There is grave need for such a revision, and certainly from the point of view of vocational education a system of co-ordination will have to be brought about whereby the pupil coming from the primary school will be certified qualified to benefit by vocational education. It should not be the job of the vocational education system to do anything by way of primary instruction, but, as it is to-day, a period of from one to two years is devoted to primary instruction of pupils who have come to the vocational institute for the purpose of getting a training which will fit them for a career.

I again say there must be co-ordination as between the secondary school and the vocational school, and it is up to the Minister to see that whatever friction may exist between the secondary school and vocational authorities, particularly in rural areas, is removed and that poaching—I use the word advisedly—which the Minister knows full well goes on will stop and that the vocational school will get its fair chance to fulfil the functions for which it is intended.

Again, there must be co-ordination between the vocational school and the university, and, if necessary, the Minister must consider setting up higher technological institutes for the training of men who will go into the higher walks of industrial life. I cannot conceive how that job is to be done, unless the agriculturist, the industrialist, and, above all, the parents, as well as all other bodies and authorities interested in education, are brought together to hammer out a national scheme on a national basis.

Time and again, we have advocated the setting up of a council of education to go into all these matters. Whether the Minister ever intends to yield to that demand, I cannot say but I can assure the Minister that, outside this House, that demand is very persistent, and if the Minister chooses to search he will find outside the House many industrialists who will tell him frankly what I am telling him now—that the work of the primary school is so bad that they cannot retain these pupils in their service and that in some cases considerate employers give the option to the employee of attending the vocational school to make up for the deficiencies in his education and that, so far as vocational education is concerned, there is grave need for the development I advocate.

Committees on vocational education throughout the country could do a great deal more than they are doing. Under the present system of constituting these committees, the local authority is given the majority of the representation. It may or may not be a wise thing to do to preserve the control of the purse in the committee itself. There is perhaps a very sound reason for it, but invariably you find that the balance of the committee is made up of a few clergymen and anybody else who can be induced to take his place on the committee. These committees do very laborious work and they have a big programme to carry through. Their job is not a light one. It is purely voluntary, and I can understand certain people being reluctant to go on such committees, but I do say that in those towns in which there are industries, some effort should be made to give these industries direct representation on the committees, so that co-ordination between industry and vocational training will be effected in practice.

I have taken the trouble to look up the output of our universities for 1943-44 and I find that, in that year, 917 graduates were turned out by the National University. Of these, 363 were Arts graduates, 177 Medicine, 80 Commerce, 127 Engineering, 35 Agriculture, and 17 Science—I may be wrong in that figure; it might be 130. From Trinity College, 429 graduates were turned out and of these 314 were Arts, 61 Medicine, 3 Commerce, 20 Engineering, with Agriculture nil and Science practically nil.

That is the position we get in our universities—that we are training men here for export. Many of our engineers are going abroad; many of our doctors are going abroad; and many of our teachers are going abroad; but we are not training any technicians here—nothing worth while. I want the Minister to consider this problem in the light of the industrial development we are visualising here, in the light of the agricultural development which is so badly needed here. Let us be frank as regards our agriculture—it is not scientifically developed as it might be and there is as grave a need for the trained man in agriculture as there is for the trained man in industry.

The finances of this measure give me some cause for concern. Already it has been the Minister's policy to cut the grants. The State grants have been cut since 1940 or 1941, and in one case of which I have personal knowledge—the Dun Laoghaire Borough Vocational Education Committee—the cut amounted to £1,500. Here we have a proposal which will increase the amount of rates to be raised for vocational education in the county boroughs, the Borough of Dun Laoghaire and in the country. In the county boroughs and in Dun Laoghaire, the rate will jump from 7d. to 9d. in the £ over the short period of five years and in the country from 5d. to 9d. in the £.

I am not quarrelling with thatqua increase. If, again, there are local industries from which the people could benefit by having extra training facilities placed at the disposal of local industrialists, there would be no grave objection to this proposal to increase the rates to provide for vocational education; but if that condition of things does not obtain and if, at the same time, the Department cuts its grants and quietly passes on the burden to the local authority, I say that we have a distinct grievance.

I say that that grievance may be emphasised in this way, that a year or two of the curriculum of the vocational institute is devoted to making good the failure of the primary system to give primary education to qualify pupils. The primary system is entirely a State-financed system, and why should the local authorities be compelled to make good what has been the failure of the State?

I should like to hear from the Minister how the proportion will work in future as between the amount to be raised locally and the State grants. In some cases it works out in the proportion of 5 to 3, that is 5 by the State and 3 from the local authority. In some cases it is 2 to 1, £2 for every £1 raised locally. It varies, and it is hard to get an accurate average figure which will give the exact proportion. But I venture to prophesy that, as the Minister has already embarked on a policy of cutting grants, he is now embarking on a policy of increasing the contribution from the local rates. It is quite easy to see that the proportion will be twisted to the detriment of the local authority and that the State will pass an increasing burden on to the local authority.

There are a few points I want to mention as regards the Bill. I am pleased that the Minister is taking steps, even at this late hour, to recognise the services of the teacher concerned in Section 3 and also with the provision being made for Mr. Hugh O'Flynn. Both these teachers gave up their ordinary careers in the Department of Technical Instruction run by the British régime here and chose to come under the auspices of the First Dáil and work for a year under the First Dáil until the British military authorities made it impossible for them to continue. In so far as the Bill seeks to give recognition to these individuals for the services which they rendered, the Minister is to be complimented on the measures he has taken. But I am afraid I cannot compliment him on the provision which he is making in Section 5. Here the Minister seeks to arrogate to himself power to dismiss or remove an officer or teacher of a vocational authority.

Under the 1930 Act, which, as the House will appreciate, was the principal Act brought in to make a beginning, if you like, in vocational education here and which took over a number of officers from, shall we say, the British system, a definite undertaking or guarantee was given to these transferred officers by Section 99 of that Act. Section 99 (3) of that Act says:—

"Every officer transferred by this section shall not, in the service of a vocational education committee to which he is so transferred, receive less remuneration or, subject to the provisions of this section, be subject to less beneficial conditions of service than the remuneration to which he was entitled and the conditions of service to which he was subject in the service from which he was so transferred."

There you have a definite undertaking given to all officers of the old committees. By Section 5 of this Bill the Minister proposes to remove that undertaking. I say that it is a very bad precedent to set up. I say that it is a violation by statute of the undertaking given by a previous statute, and that it is very wrong in principle that this House should endorse a violation of that kind. I also hold that it is a grave injustice to the officers who had this statutory undertaking by the Act of 1930. Their rights are being filched from them now by Section 5 of this Bill. Under that Act all the officers who transferred over had that guarantee given by law that their conditions would be no worse than they were.

One of the conditions they had to endure, if you like, was the liability to disciplinary punishment which, of course, is a condition in any service of the kind. But under the old system and under the system obtaining in the 1930 Act, no officer could be removed or dismissed by the Minister except after a public inquiry had been held and the officer had the right to defend himself to a certain extent in that inquiry. Now the protection of the inquiry which he had under the 1930 Act is removed by Section 5 of this Bill. The only reason advanced is that certain doubts existed as to the Minister's rights or powers and to set these doubts aright the Minister introduces this very drastic provision. I want to appeal to the Minister on behalf of these officers—they are not very numerous—who did transfer, that the provision should not apply. I want to appeal to him, in the first instance, to withdraw this provision from the Bill.

I think the Minister has already sufficient powers under the existing law to deal with any case of misconduct, or any case of inefficiency, or any case where it is desirable in the public interest that an officer should be removed or dismissed. He has ample power under the 1930 Act for that, and I cannot see why he should seek to give himself these additional powers.

If he cannot see his way to remove the section entirely, then I would ask him to restrict its application so that the section should not apply to officers who were in the service before the date of the 1930 Act. It would also be inequitable to apply it to officers who came into the service since the 1930 Act and who are in the service at the moment. If there is need at all for this provision, it should only apply to officers to be recruited in the future.

This is a definite worsening of the conditions of employment under which these men took office. It is a definite breach of the contract which the committees undertook with them. It is a definite breach of the statutory undertaking which was given to them by Section 99 (3) of the 1930 Act. I do not think that a case can be made for this drastic provision at all. But, if there is a case for giving the Minister these powers, then I say these powers should not apply to men who had statutory guarantees hitherto and that they should only apply to the officers to be recruited henceforth.

There is another matter which I would like to bring to the Minister's attention. It is the position which obtains in Clonmel. Some years ago the chief executive officer of the vocational committee of the South Riding of Tipperary had to take proceedings against the Clonmel Corporation who were, at the time, the vocational authority in Clonmel. These proceedings were very protracted, but they terminated in a settlement, at least in regard to certain parts of the proceedings. As regards the general issue, the officer won his case and judgment was given in his favour. Costs were awarded to him, but, by reason of the settlement which was suggested by the court to both parties, this officer waived certain of his rights, particularly in the matter of costs. He agreed to accept portion of his costs on the understanding that when conditions changed in the local corporation the balance of his costs would be made good.

In the meantime, before this undertaking was made good by the corporation, the whole system of vocational education was changed and what was heretofore the liability of the Clonmel Corporation was transferred to the South Riding of County Tipperary as a whole. Under the 1930 Act provision was made in Section 97 by which the debts and liabilities of existing committees would be transferred to the new committees.

There is a certain amount of inequity in the transaction I refer to, in this way, that you get the position that the liability of Clonmel was transferred to the whole South Riding and people would regard it as unfair that what was a local liability should be made a county-at-large charge. All the time the individual concerned, who is legally entitled to his costs, has been unable to get these costs. The amount is not a very considerable one—a sum of £500 represents the balance of the costs due to him—and I ask the Minister to consider favourably a proposal to embody in this Bill a provision whereby it should be possible to recoup this gentleman's losses. He is legally entitled to this money but, as I understand the case, the Department take the view that the local rates should make up the loss rather than that the State should make it good.

I do not want to weary the House with details of a purely local affair, but this matter is tied up with other matters which occurred in Clonmel at that time. The officer concerned was entitled, over a period of years, to certain remuneration for extra services rendered in relation to British ex-Servicemen's schemes. That money was allowed to him by the local committee, but was refused by the officials of the then Department of Technical Instruction in Dublin under the British régime. At the same time the committee, which was running a large ex-Servicemen's scheme, made a profit of something like £7,000 on the scheme. Eventually, he was given some monetary consideration for the schemes, but that has no great bearing on the general issue. It is tied up to a certain extent with it.

This matter has a long, involved history. I ask the Minister to consider favourably any representations he may receive in this particular case and, I hope he will try to meet the views of the officer, who has a distinct grievance and who may be compelled eventually to go to law to get that grievance rectified, and of the South Riding Vocational Committee. This matter was brought to the notice of the then Minister in 1936 when there was a Vocational Bill before the House and an amendment was proposed, but I understand it was ruled out of order. I am prepared to let the Minister have the amendment I have in mind. It would, I think, help to settle this grievance of the officer and the committee.

I hope the Minister will consider the inequities of the whole case. I would also ask him to make a State grant to settle this matter once and for all. The amount is very small and all parties would then be satisfied. If the present position is allowed to continue, there is a danger that further litigation may ensue and the local committee may have to fight the matter again. There is no doubt that if these matters had been brought to the notice of the judge they would have been made a rule of court and they would have been part of the settlement that was brought to his lordship's notice at the time. For some reason, these matters were not included in the settlement.

I am not going to go so far as to say that it is an issue that is incontestable. I suggest the equities of the case lie with the officer and the committee. I think the Minister might look upon the matter in a generous way and settle it by way of a small State grant. I appeal to him to avail of this measure to do so.

On previous occasions, when a Vote for vocational education or technical instruction was before the House, or when Bills relating to these subjects were being discussed here, I voiced complaints because of the inequitable treatment of the City of Dublin Vocational Committee. In the recent past that position has been adjusted, if not entirely in a satisfactory way, at least on a more favourable financial basis. Therefore, my complaint against the Department so far as the financial aspect is concerned, disappears for the moment. Since the Minister's statement is in the nature of a general survey of the operation of the Act of 1930, I can advert to some aspects of the operation of that Act in so far as it affects the City of Dublin. I should like to refer to what I regard as the sweeping statement of Deputy. I should like to refer to what I Deputy Coogan in relation to what he described as the difficulties of operation of the Act. There are two phases of this subject. One relates to the rural districts, of which I have no experience, and the other to the cities and large towns. I do not mind confessing that, even within my own Party, there are diverse views as regards the manner in which the Act has been carried out during the last 15 or 16 years in the rural areas.

I have personal experience of its operation in the City of Dublin and I am happy to tell the House that the Act is working extremly well. The best proof of that is that all our schools and institutes in the city are crowded to the doors and that it is impossible to find accommodation for all the students offering. The committee responsible is now compelled to engage in a large building programme which provides for a school of music, and— if Deputy Coogan were present he would be interested to hear—a school of technology. He referred to the absence of such a school. He lamented that the poor man's child could go only to a certain stage because of the absence of such a school. I am not a member of the Minister's Party but I am deeply concerned with the working of this Act in the city and I am bound to say that there is not a child in the city who, because of his lack of means, is not in a position to complete the range of technical education.

As I have said, we have our institutes working to capacity and we cover a wide range of subjects. We have engineering, building construction, printing and other schools, while we also provide instruction in architecture as applied to building construction. We have what is the nearest approach to a school of technology in our institute in Kevin Street. We have those institutions working with the goodwill of the students and with the co-operation of the employers and trade unions—a very important factor so far as technical education is concerned. We have ample evidence of that co-operation from these two sections. So far as the Department is concerned, we are not being starved in any way. It is not correct to say, as has been said here, that there are no trade scholarships. In the City of Dublin, there is a most generous quota. As between the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee and the Department of Education, there are the most cordial relations—with one exception. I should be prepared to give the Department a clear certificate save in one respect— that there is an undoubted difference of opinion as between the committee and the Department in respect of teachers who are eligible for promotion to positions in the gift of the committee and are denied that promotion owing to the Department insisting on a particular standard of Irish which was not one of the conditions when these individuals entered the service. A number of such cases are pending and, as the matter may be regarded assub judice, I leave it there. With that exception, I think that any member of the Vocational Education Committee would say what I say—that the system is working extremely well. Quite frankly, we have no complaints.

Having given that certificate to the Department, I feel all the stronger in commenting on Section 5 of this Bill. The Minister can have this Bill passed easily through the House if he sees the wisdom of deleting Section 5. An effort was made along the same lines in connection with the amending Act of 1944 but it did not succeed. This is a retrograde step and I support Deputy Coogan in urging that the Minister remove that very objectionable section— objectionable in the sense that individuals under the 1930 Act had certain guarantees and that you are repealing those guarantees under this amending measure. Nothing is more calculated to destroy confidence or to create distrust in Acts of Parliament than this form of legislation. As Deputy Coogan pointed out, not many individuals are affected. That is all the more reason why this matter should not unduly disturb the Minister and his Department. Deputy Coogan thought that, if the Minister could not delete the section, he might amend it in such a way as to leave certain individuals under the 1930 Act in the position in which they were. I take a slightly different view. I think that this section goes somewhat deeper than the implications which Deputy Coogan read into it. In so far as the Minister is prepared to dismiss or suspend without reference to the committees, he is, in effect, hitting against the independence of the committees. As a member of a committee for a number of years, I know of no instance in which the necessity for an amendment of this character occurred. The Minister acknowledged in his opening statement the service which the committees have given to vocational education and to the Department for the past 15 or 16 years. He should not unduly antagonise them at this stage. Therefore, I join in the appeal by Deputy Coogan to the Minister to delete that section. If he does his Bill will have an easy passage.

In so far as this Bill provides a means for vocational education committees throughout the country to obtain extra money for their work, I welcome it. I was also glad to hear the statement of the last speaker that vocational education in Dublin City is a success and that they are able to cater for all and sundry in their schools. Having said so much, I feel disappointed that no indication has been given by the Minister as to what the ultimate aim of vocational education is so far as the Department is concerned. The increased expenditure provided under this Bill will not meet the demands in Mayo and will not bring vocational education to the masses of the people. For a number of years vocational education committees throughout the country have been in the peculiar position that they have built schools, that there are demands for further schools and for itinerant teachers, and yet they do not know what the ultimate aim of the State is in respect of vocational education or how far the State intends to go in this direction. Where a number of schools have been erected in the larger centres of population they are working all right and provide good opportunities for the students attending them but, under the rating system, the people in the country districts are paying for those schools, providing service for the people in the towns and the areas adjacent to the towns. The agricultural industry is not catered for or is catered for only to a very limited extent. As far as possible we should try to provide technical training in agriculture and I think it is generally admitted that, particularly in these days, skilled training in agriculture is essential if we are to get the best results and if we are to be in a position to compete with our agricultural exports on foreign markets.

It is admitted by practically all students of agriculture that one of the main reasons for the success of agriculture in Denmark is the fact that the vast majority of the Danes are technically trained in agriculture and schools are provided for that training. Under our system the only opportunity of providing technical training for farmers' sons is through vocational education and whereas the vast majority of our people are engaged in agriculture, where vocational schools are provided, they are in the main for the use of the towns and do not cater for the rural community. It is true that, recently, rural science courses were carried out in some of these schools but in most of them there was no plot of land surrounding the school for the purpose of practical demonstrations. When vocational schools are being erected in rural areas the provision of a plot of land for practical demonstrations in rural science should be one of the first considerations.

I do not think that will solve the problem. I do not think that the schools as at present operated, in the centres in which they are situated, will bring vocational education of a rural character to the people. I do not know whether or not the proposition has been examined by the Department of the erection of an additional room in national schools where lectures could be given or at which itinerant teachers could attend, so as to bring technical training in agriculture to the local people, in their local parish, in their own national school. At the present cost of the schools already erected in Mayo plus the proposed increase under this particular Bill, after the erection of a few more schools already planned for we will not be able to go any further because, in addition to the cost of erection of the school, there is an initial expenditure on staff ranging from £1,500 to £2,000 per annum. That is a recurring item of expenditure and with normal increases in salaries will be increasing year by year.

We have found that some schools that have been erected are not big enough, and in connection with a few new schools in Mayo there are complaints that they cannot take in all the persons seeking admission. On the other hand, schools have been erected that should never have been erected. These matters should be gone into more carefully. To a large degree the fault may rest on the shoulders of county committees of vocational education. I suggest that, before a school is erected, classes should be held in the particular centre for a period by itinerant teachers and the attendance at these classes would be a guide as to whether there was need for a school in that particular place or not.

I regret that an indication has not been given as to how far it is intended to go with vocational education. There is certainly a very large demand for it in the towns, but the curriculum is wrong for the rural areas. One class of people is being catered for, and I am not so sure that we are meeting with the success that we should have or that results in accordance with the amount of money expended are being obtained. At page 216 of the Report on Vocational Organisation, the commission say:—

"It is difficult to estimate the number of students who are turned out each year trained in the various subjects. Examinations are held, but entrance for them is voluntary. The following table, compiled from figures in the Department's report for 1939-40, shows the numbers who passed the senior or advanced stages of technical school examinations in that year."

From the ensuing table it would appear that for the year 1939-40, the total number of first-class successes was 108; the total number of passes was 2,306, making a total of 2,414 candidates who passed examinations in the building trade, mechanical engineering, motor-car engineering, electrical engineering, applied chemistry, art, flour milling, domestic economy, and commerce, in the vocational schools and, in connection with the building trade, mechanical engineering, motor-car engineering, electrical engineering and applied chemistry there were only 324 successes, including first-class successes and passes, for the whole country. That seems to me a very small figure if we can rely on these particular figures and if they are an indication of the progress of vocational education.

There is another matter to which I would like to refer briefly. It is in connection with the work done under the heading of Domestic Economy in the vocational education schools. It would appear that, in 1939-40, of all the girls who presented themselves for examination in domestic economy, there was not one solitary first-class success. Of the total number who entered for examination in that year, only 1,659 passed. This is one of the most important functions of vocational education, one of the first avenues that should be open to the young girls throughout the country to learn the art of cooking, to start off with, yet only 1,659 passed and there was not one first-class success. The system of work in these schools would appear to be that quite a lot of time is given to teaching commercial courses, training girls in shorthand and typewriting, for jobs that are not there for them, instead of concentrating on one of the first functions of vocational education. The young girls should be trained for the job which the majority of them ultimately will be doing, that is, the job of running a house and cooking decent meals.

Secondly, where there is provision for training in domestic economy, the system appears to be to train these girls to cook in a modern all-electric kitchen, under conditions which they will never meet in their home lives. In the main, provision should be made for them to work under the conditions which 99 per cent. of them will meet in their own homes, with their own turf fires in country kitchens. I am speaking solely about rural areas, as I am not qualified to discuss what happens here in Dublin. I have had the feeling for a long time that much time is being wasted in training girls as shorthand typists. It has also the effect on the rural community that such girls, going each night to vocational schools for commercial courses and learning shorthand and typewriting, are not prepared to do the work their mothers did in the homes.

They are being trained for office jobs and so become a complete burden on their fathers and mothers. Possibly as a result of getting away from the home and local atmosphere, they do not want to work on the land and do the ordinary work that country girls do, so all we are training them for, in the main, is export. Far greater bias should be given to teaching matters connected with farming and the work our people have to do in the ordinary course of events in their own homes.

If the amount of money proposed to be provided under this Bill comes along to committees like mine, we are still in the position that, while we have a few schools that we will erect and have need for, we do not know what further Bill may be brought in in five or six years' time. We do not know whether it might be open to us—as some committees have done throughout the country —to run into debt if we feel like it. We know the limit that was imposed by law before this. I understand that some' committees were not living within their budget and were prepared to go ahead with an extension scheme, always knowing that the Minister or the Department would ultimately come to their aid if they got into the mire deeply enough. Whereas the limit provided here under this particular Bill would allow us to do a little, it will not make even a start in my particular part of the country towards bringing the benefit of vocational education to the ordinary country farmer. We estimate that even on the building of schools, if we cut out itinerant teachers altogether, in my particular county we will want something in the nature of 2/6 in the £ levy. I may say that the majority of the committee members would agree with that view. I do not know how far the Minister intends to go. Having started as we did with 1/4d. in the £, increasing year by year until we reached a maximum of 5d., there will always be the feeling that, if we are allowed to go a bit further now, there will be another Bill introduced by the Minister in a few years' time to allow us to go still further. That feeling will get abroad in my county and in other counties. I would like it to be laid down somewhere what the intentions are, whether there will be an ultimate limit for vocational education or whether the matter will be considered again in a few years' time when the Minister sees what progress has been made throughout the country with the extra expenditure under this particular Bill.

I would like to see a more particular check by the Department on the location of schools. There should be some regulation, so that, before we go to the expense of erecting schools which might turn out to be white elephants as the classes would not be there for them, a test would be made by means of itinerant teachers to see if there would be consistent attendance and demand for the classes.

In regard to all future schools to be erected in rural areas, I would insist on provision being made for a piece of land around them, where the rural science teacher could work with his pupils. The courses should be adapted to our particular needs and should be given a rural bias. Also, if the Minister finds it possible to do so—though I do not know how it can be done—I would like to see vocational education brought into the heart of the rural areas. We are catering too much at present for people in the towns, while denying this very necessary training to young farmers' sons whose need is far greater than that of the people in the towns and who, as a unit of our community, merit that we spend more money in providing for them.

Ní dóigh liomsa go raibh an Teachta Ó Cuagáin ar an mbóthar ceart in aon chor. Bhí sé ag rith anseo agus ansúd, gan treoir gan eolas ar an argoint ar mhaith leis a rinneadh amach. Go deimhin, ní raibh sé sásta leis na Comhairlí Ceannais Áitiúla,, ná leis an méid ná an saghas oibre atá á dhéanamh sna schoileanna gairm-oideachais. Ní maith leis an t-am atá caite iontu ag múineadh na Gaeilge, teanga na tíre. Ní thuigeann sé gur féidir leis an cultúr agus an t-eolas teicniciúl dul ar aghaidh ó lá go lá i dteannta a chéile agus gur chun tosnú maith a thabhairt don aos óg ar leas a saol atá an obair sin á dhéanainh iontu.

I think Deputy Coogan approached the subject of this Bill on entirely wrong lines. He showed considerable want of knowledge of the subject that he was dealing with. In the first place, he charged the Department and the Minister with this, that provision was not made on these local committees for representatives of the Church and of industry. Now, the formation of these committees depends entirely on the local public bodies. In most places they make provision for representatives of the various Churches. These are nominated by the Bishops and other leading ecclesiastics. So far as the other members of the committee are concerned, it is up to the local bodies, the corporations or county councils, to put on people who will be representative of the various interests that are represented on the local bodies themselves.

Deputy Coogan made no reference to them.

Pardon me, he did. I do not think that Deputy Hughes was in the House when he was speaking.

I was sitting beside him.

At any rate, that was the burden of his attack. Dealing with this matter of the local committees, I can say that the local councils have even gone outside their own bodies to get people with special knowledge of technical education to act on them. If the local bodies do not recognise their local responsibility in the matter, surely the Minister is not expected to educate them in that regard. Deputy Coogan travelled from one thing to another in such a way that his arguments were a whole mass of confusion in so far as I could gather what he was driving at. He wound up by saying that, of course, if a council of education had been appointed a lot of these ills would have been remedied. In this House I have been listening for a considerable time to a lot of discussion on this question of a council of education. It has always surprised me why those who advocate it do not themselves set about forming such a council. If the Government were to form such a council, the first criticism that would be made of it would be that it was interfering with natural development. I will give a commonsense example which is as well known to the Leas-Cheann Comhairle as it is to myself of how a council of that particular type worked.

When the Gaelic Athletic Association was in its infancy, as well as the Industrial Development Association and the Gaelic League, they saw that they had certain interests in common, and without going to the Government or anywhere else they decided that it would be a wise thing to form a council on which all of them would be represented. They asked the particular units in each county to appoint two men on a particular council. That was done. The same thing was done at headquarters. You have that body in existence to-day. Of course, when our own industries were developed the need for that council, so far as industry is concerned, was not as keen as before, but still the contact remains and you have An tOireachtas. You have the Thomond Feis and other bodies of that kind so that the action of that council at that time did promote the national ideal. There is nothing to prevent the primary teachers, the vocational teachers, secondary teachers or the university people from doing something on the same lines. They can do so in the morning if they wish. If they decide to do so they can then call on the Government to give the council such sanction as may be in the public interest. That is my view on this question of a council of education. I am not against it. I am in favour of it, but I am not in favour of the Government forming the council. The bodies I have mentioned should themselves set about it and do that particular work.

I also think that Deputy Coogan was confused about what I may describe as purely educational scholarships and skilled technical knowledge. He confused these two things. He spoke as if the vocational schools were expected to turn out skilled technicians. When our infant industries were being formed and when we did want skilled technicians, it was not to any vocational school or college that we sent the prospective technicians for our home industries but rather into the actual industry itself. The point should not be overlooked that the principal object of the vocational or technical education system is to give sufficient knowledge to youth to enable them to derive full benefit subsequently from their studies. You cannot make them technicians in a technical school because, for one thing, you could not, in the first instance, put up enough technical schools with the particular type of education and knowledge of the actual operations of industry that would be necessary to bring that position about.

Deputy Coogan also wanted the vocational schools to provide good Christian managers for industry. Well, undoubtedly, while he was not prepared to admit as far as I could gather from his arguments that cultural and technical knowledge go hand in hand, he opposed the teaching of Irish. He said that too much time is being given to it. He opposed the teaching of the national language which would give the pupils a national outlook and a link with the best traditions of their own country. He expected the vocational schools to do all these things. All schools help in that direction, but all schools do not turn out a strait-laced technician of any kind or a manager for a particular work or industry. Another serious criticism was the attack that he made on the primary schools. Now last week we had from the benches opposite very strong arguments in favour of paying the national teachers better than they are being paid. It was said that they were not getting salaries in keeping with the work they are doing, but Deputy Coogan this evening said that most of the time of the teachers in the vocational schools is spent making up for the defects in the primary schools. Is not that an extraordinary state of affairs?

It is perfectly explainable.

If it is, it is not understandable to me. It must be remembered that approximately 75 per cent. of primary pupils pass the primary leaving certificate.

Approximately 75 per cent of those who sit for the examination are successful. Again we have pupils entering the vocational schools who might have not been very good in the national school and their parents will say, if the children have not been very good in the national school at, say, English or Irish: "Well perhaps they have had a bent for something in the technical line" and they send them into the technical schools. The technical school teachers will have to take these pupils as they find them and if they have to devote a certain amount of time in qualifying these pupils to avail of the technical knowledge, that is part of the system. They will have to take the class as a group and see what they can do in the best interests of these pupils.

The suggestion to give a rural bias to vocational education is very important and is one with which I entirely agree, because the rural community is a very extensive community. To my mind, instead of building a few huge vocational schools—while it may be wise to build such schools in centres where there is a local industry for which these schools can cater—it would be advisable to add additional rooms to most of our national schools where, as Deputy Moran suggested, the teachers can instruct girls in domestic economy and give boys a primary course in rural science while also imparting to them a certain amount of practical knowledge in the plots attached to the schools. That was done formerly but the fees for such courses were withdrawn—a very unwise thing to do, in my opinion. That is one of the subjects the teaching of which should be encouraged. We are told that there is not sufficientceangal or bond between the different systems of education, but it should be remembered that the classes of pupils who go to vocational schools and universities do not always blend. For example, those who go to the vocational schools are mainly intended for industry. They acquire a knowledge there which enables them, when they enter a particular trade or industry, to absorb more quickly the additional instruction which they receive. After all, there is no substitute, to my mind, for the serving of an apprenticeship to a trade or industry.

Those who go into secondary schools have a different outlook. Their object is to pass into the Civil Service, to obtain clerkships in the Electricity Supply Board or to get into an office, while those who pass on to the university intend to take up some profession. They want to become doctors, secondary teachers or engineers. So while there is a definite fundamental principle attached to all types of teaching, there is a particular point which marks a distinction between the various classes of pupils who take up different courses.

As regards vocational schools and the university, we have only two sets of universities in the country. How can anybody suggest that we can have any kind of bond between the people who go into these vocational schools preparatory to entering some industry at 16 or 18 years of age and the universities? How are these students to get away from their homes and who is going to pay the expense of taking them to the University Colleges of Galway, Cork or Dublin?

All these theories may be very high sounding but I do not think they would work at all if an effort were made to give practical effect to them. Something in this way has been achieved by the vocational schools in Cork. Diplomas are now issued in social and economic science to students who acquire their knowledge of economic subjects—the ordinary theory of economics, book-keeping, etc.—in the school of commerce and who receive instruction in sociology and other subjects in the University at night when the pupils can go there. That, however, is only one city, but how are you going to organise such a system in Limerick, Kilkenny, Waterford and other places? The Minister and his Department have the responsibility of formulating schemes for the good of the country as a whole. They have to keep in mind the requirements of the country generally and what is best suited to the needs of the country in general. To my mind, the needs of rural districts should receive earnest consideration. The work carried on by these schools in the towns is making good progress, especially where local industries are located. These industries give an incentive to the pupils to improve their skill inasmuch as they know that the certificates that are issued by these schools will obtain for them a certain preference in employment and rapid promotion when they enter industry.

One of the greatest blots I find in the system is that in proportion to the total number of teachers employed, there are too many part-time teachers and too many temporary whole-time teachers. I recognise that it is necessary to have a certain number of part-time teachers because, as I have said, there has to be a certain bond between industries and the technical schools. Certain men who are, perhaps, engaged all day in industry of one kind or another, go into the technical schools at night as part-time teachers. You cannot avoid that. It is a good system because no man is more capable of imparting instruction in a particular trade than a man who has been working at it. Then, however, there are temporary whole-time teachers who get no pay whatever during the summer months. During the holiday period, with the exception of a few who, by the grace of the Minister, might have been put on a yearly salary, they get no pay whatever. The great bulk of them are not entitled to a pension or to any of the privileges which an established teacher enjoys.

Teachers sometimes write to me and say that they have been three or four years teaching under a county committee but the committee cannot make them permanent because they have not enough money. Such conditions should not prevail. Taking it all in all, I think the system has a fairly solid foundation. There is room for development but, when we criticise it, our criticism should be directed towards achieving what we believe to be best in the interests of the pupils and the interests of the community at large.

Having been reared on a farm, I found what I learned in my early days in the national school from Baldwin'sAgriculture of great use to me in after-life. I was anxious to get on the vocational committee in my area, being a member of the county council, but they were not keen on putting me there. They put me on the mental asylum committee instead, but I have some knowledge of what is happening. I had often wondered what the term “rural science” meant, and, when I asked one of my sons attending the classes, I was amazed to find it was agriculture, so that you have the rural science teacher and the agricultural instructor teaching one and the same thing. In the light of the benefit I got from the teaching of agriculture in the national school, I agree with those Deputies who suggested an additional room in the national schools, but there would appear to be overlapping between the work of the rural science teacher and the agricultural instructor, and I have often wondered why they should be teaching the one thing. Many of the technical schools which have recently been built have been built in the towns instead of out in the country where they could have a plot of ground on which to give demonstrations. In Killenaule, in my county, there is a plot of ground attached to the school, and I have heard high tribute paid to it.

With regard to the old rural tradesmen, it is a pity that they are dying out, and, in my area, there is a complete absence of the rural carpenter. Farmers' sons and agricultural labourers have picked up quite a lot of useful knowledge in the technical schools, and I notice that many of them are making use of that knowledge on the farm where the shaft of a mowing machine often breaks, with no carpenter available within eight miles. The difficulty is for young men to get into these technical schools which are far apart. In the case of Cahir, it is a matter of 14 miles on one side, 11 on another and 10 on the third, and it is difficult for young men to get into them, even with bicycles, after a hard day's work. I suggest, however, that a rural bias could be given by having a room attached to the national school and that more use should be made of the rural tradesmen. I know three carpenters and a blacksmith who are examples of what I mean. The smith has three men working for him and has now gone into oxy-acetylene welding.

I suggest that some fee might be fixed for apprenticeship to such tradesmen because apprentices, no matter how willing they may be, will smash quite a lot of stuff in their first years. As it is, these old craftsmen are, as I say, dying out. Another tribute to the technical schools is paid by what I learned from a young man who had a set of rough tools on the farm at home and who had a penchant for this type of work. He went across to England and got work as a builder's labourer. Within four months, by keeping his eyes open and by watching the carpenters working, coupled with the little knowledge he had gleaned at home on the farm, he became foreman with a big building contractor. The knowledge he got in the technical school he made good use of and he told me that he attributed his success to his training in the technical school.

Many of these young men have great hands and I know a fellow near me who would not know B from a bull's foot when he left school but who turned out to be a great craftsman, and his place now is a credit to him. These rural tradesmen can get anything in reason they ask for, and, if they go across to England, they earn £8 and £10 a week. In view of that, I cannot understand why our young fellows should have such a liking for "white collar" jobs. If a clerk or a shop assistant goes to a dance or to a "spread" of any kind, he is "it", but the tradesman is not considered as being in the same class. It is time we dropped that outlook.

There has been reference to the tendency on the part of young people to go in for shorthand and typewriting. I see from reports in the papers that typists are very scarce and that they are being offered good salaries. Recently a lady was appointed to a position in America at £2,000 a year. Apparently we are going to have a great increase in typists. But, for the training of the future wife, typing and shorthand are not very much good. As to the training in domestic economy in the vocational schools, we have up-to-date cooking stoves in these schools. I am afraid it will be a long time until we get such stoves in houses in the rural districts. I think a little training in cooking on an open hearth would be a very good thing, because it is neglected to a great extent.

There is just one other matter to which I should like to draw the Minister's attention. I am a member of the county council in Tipperary but I am not on the vocational committee. But the Minister is cognisant of what happened in the case which has been referred to. I have a copy of the statement sent to the Minister. I think if that were dealt with from the Central Fund it would be an easy way out of it. I do not wish to mention the gentleman's name. He is a member of the Upper House. He is one of the most capable men I have met in such a position. His heart and soul are in the work and he has worried quite a lot over it. If the Minister could see his way to fix that up, it would be a great help. The person concerned is one of the most capable men I have ever come across. He is not a native of my county, but I appreciate his work.

I regret that I was not here for the Minister's opening statement on this Bill, as I might not have to make many points which I propose to make now. As many other Deputies on both sides of the House have said, there is a lack in some parts of the country of vocational schools. Another thing that is more lamentable even than the lack of schools is the lack of interest in the existing schools.

On another occasion, when speaking on education, I suggested that lectures could be delivered in the ordinary national schools where the children are going every day and that, in turn, the parents could be educated to the point that their children would be sent from the national school to the vocational school to prepare them for their future life, which is the most important thing, because a boy leaving the national school at 14 is not very well fitted for anything, much less for a trade. The same thing applies to the girls as regards sewing and the ordinary things that a girl should know in order to run a home later on. These matters are more or less neglected for the other subjects, which perhaps are necessary. If we could bring the children to recognise the great advantage of a training in a vocational school it would be a great help. Emphasis has been laid on the fact that boys should be taught carpentry or some other trade which they might think of taking up. I am speaking now of children who are not able to go to a university or have no ambition to go there. The same thing would apply to girls, whom we should try to get interested in domestic subjects.

Reference has been made to the teaching of shorthand and typewriting, but domestic subjects are really necessary for the running of a home. It is the mothers who make the home. Therefore, we should encourage young girls to take advantage of the vocational schools. As I say, we have not enough of these schools, apart from the lack of enthusiasm for them which undoubtedly exists in certain places. For 20 children that go to these schools, there are 50 not going to them. Apparently the parents do not recognise the duty that lies on them to send their children to these schools. But in many places in the country I believe that children would be sent to these vocational schools if they were provided for them. Otherwise we should have lectures and demonstrations given in the ordinary schools. I realise that it would take a good deal of money to put up a lot more vocational schools. Nevertheless, it is a pity that children who wish to learn some trade are deprived of the facilities for doing so simply because they are not living in or near a town where there is a vocational school. I would ask the Minister if there is any way he could devise by which this education could be given to anyone who was willing to avail of it.

Then there are the children who have an ambition to receive a university education. There are many people who wish to send their children to a university but who cannot afford to send them to Dublin or Cork. Take, for instance, the case of Waterford. It would cost parents a certain amount to keep their children in pocket money, apart altogether from the cost of maintenance for a number of years. I know that money is scarce and if there was an increase of taxation we would perhaps be the first to come down on the Minister. At the same time, I think it would be well if the Minister would consider having other university colleges established in the bigger centres. I speak in particular for Waterford, but the same thing applies to other cities. There are buildings which could be utilised for the purpose with the expenditure of very little money. With very little cost to the State these buildings could be made available for university colleges. In that way there would be an incentive to parents to give their children a chance of a university education because they would not have the expense of sending them to the existing university colleges. We have spent a good deal of money on education in the past few years. Some people think we cannot do any more, but others have a different opinion. Personally I think that what I suggest could be done at a comparatively small cost. Therefore, I think it would be a good thing for the Minister to consider the establishment of a few more university colleges throughout the country so as to provide an opportunity for children whose ambition is to get a university education.

I may not be quite in order in the suggestion I am about to make, but I believe there is one way in which money could be saved, so far as education goes. This may not be very popular, but at any rate it is my opinion. Much money has been spent on the teaching of Irish. Irish may be all right in its own way, but not to the extent to which it is being pushed at the moment. It is not for the betterment of education or of the children's minds. I believe that the expenditure in that direction could be cut down somewhat. Every little helps. There would be a saving in that respect and that saving could be put to some practical use. I think the money that might be saved in that manner could be devoted to other more useful purposes. I hope the Minister will consider those points that I have mentioned and if he does consider favourably my point about the university, I trust that he will place Waterford in the No. 1 position.

In discussing a Bill of this nature, naturally the first question that would occur to one would be, is the country getting value for the money we are spending on education? When we were discussing the Estimate for primary education this year a member of the Labour Party asked that question in relation to primary education. I am asking it in relation to this Bill. The Minister dealt exhaustively with the developments that have taken place from 1930 up to the present, but he did not deal definitely or expressly with the educational results that were achieved in these years. He did not deal expressly or definitely with the results achieved in the vocational schools during all these years. It appears to me that when the Minister asks the Dáil to give him authority to impose additional levies on the ratepayers, it is his duty to let the Dáil know definitely what results have been achieved by the vocational system of education.

I do not want to be misunderstood. I am a wholehearted believer in the system of vocational education, but I feel that the time, money and effort devoted to propagating vocational education have not been utilised to the very best advantage. I believe that with more intelligent direction and, perhaps, a better system of education, one designed to suit the interests of the country, we would have achieved much better results than we have succeeded in getting so far.

The Minister mentioned the amount spent on vocational schools. I wonder if all that expenditure was necessary and if, with some sort of co-operation between the officials in charge of primary education and those concerned with vocational education, some of that money could not have been saved. It appears to me that our national schools could be utilised much more extensively for the purpose of vocational education. I realise that for the purpose of courses in vocational training it is necessary to have special equipment, and that equipment cannot be left lying loose in national schools. But an annex could be built to any school in order to house that equipment. If a spirit of co-ordination existed between those in charge of the primary and vocational schools, and if an additional room or two could be added to national schools, where such schools are now being erected, in order to provide additional facilities in certain areas in the country, it would be very desirable.

The administration of our educational system is carried out in a rather haphazard manner. There is a lack of co-ordination between those in charge of our different systems of education. In rural areas there are schoolmasters in national schools giving the same instruction to their classes as is given by teachers in the vocational schools and by instructors under the Department of Agriculture in other schools or parish halls. That means a waste of money—altogether unnecessary expenditure. No effort has been made, despite the fact that the vocational scheme had been in operation for 16 or 17 years, to co-ordinate the education with that imparted in the primary schools.

Deputy O'Donnell said that agricultural instructors hold classes during the winter and the spring, and they impart useful agricultural information to farmers' sons. Pretty much the same type of education is given by other instructors in our vocational schools and in some of our national schools. Where the teacher is so minded, he has additional courses and he gives instruction to his pupils. All this instruction is costing a considerable amount, and I suggest that by intelligent co-ordination it should be possible to avoid a considerable amount of our present expenditure. If we are to achieve desirable results in our systems of education there must be some proper spirit of co-ordination.

There is no doubt that the vocational schools in our cities and towns have achieved definite results and the officials deserve credit, but vocational education as applied to rural areas is making tardy progress. The Minister must accept part of the blame for the fact that people living in rural areas have been rather reluctant to avail of the advantages of vocational education. The scheme as applied to rural areas does not cater wholly for the needs of the rural districts, and, until it does, it is unlikely that it will succeed or get the support which it should get if it were wisely administered.

Deputy Moran said girls are flocking in huge numbers into the vocational schools in our cities and towns in order to get certificates in shorthand, typewriting and book-keeping for situations that are not there; they are training for positions that cannot be obtained in this country. Many of them have to accept other positions, and numbers probably have to emigrate. People entirely overlook the fact that at the moment domestic servants are at a premium and our vocational schools are making no effort to train girls as domestic servants, so that they will be able to obtain good positions. Domestic servants, probably for the first time in the history of this country, are able to command any wages they may ask.

Housewives are prepared to offer any wages if they are satisfied that they are getting good girls. Notwithstanding that it must be apparent to the Minister and the officials of his Department that the demand exists, they have made no effort, so far, to cater for it. It is time that our vocational education system was so designed as to give girls of that type a special training in domestic service. There should be special certificates for girls who are prepared to take a course in domestic service. In fact, they should be encouraged to take an advanced course. As the demand exists, I submit that it is the duty of the Minister and the officials in charge of our vocational schools to cater for that demand, as far as possible. Reference has been made by Deputy O'Donnell to the fact that many of our old crafts are dying out. That is a pity. It is one of the tragedies of the rural areas that those old crafts, which were redolent of life in rural Ireland in days gone by, should be allowed to die out. The Minister should make an effort to preserve those of the crafts which are worthy of survival. It should be the function of teachers in rural schools, particularly, to preserve such crafts so far as possible.

The Minister paid tribute to the committees of vocational education for the work they have done. That tribute was well deserved. From my experience, the vocational education committees have given wholehearted service and have done their utmost to make the scheme a success. I am not so sure that the Minister, on all occasions, has given them the support which they, certainly, deserved. It has been a subject of frequent complaint by these committees that plans and schemes for improvement of schools and for additional courses in vocational training have been held up for months in the Department of Education and that some of the schemes have been returned in a form in which it was impossible to administer them or in a form in which, if administered, they would yield no positive or definite results. If vocational committees who are endeavouring to discharge their duties in an efficient and competent manner do not receive co-operation and assistance from the Department of Education, they are bound to become lukewarm and indifferent. The experience of at least one vocational education committee, of which I have knowledge, is that they have not received the co-operation and assistance from the Department which they regarded as their due.

There are clauses in the Bill dealing with the payment of travelling expenses to members of vocational education committees. These sections follow much on the lines of a Bill introduced by the Minister for Agriculture 12 or 18 months ago. The scale of payments is similar. I notice that, in Section 6, it is provided that no man living less than five miles from the place of meeting shall be entitled to any payment. On its face, that appears to be unfair. Even though a member be living within five miles of the place of meeting, it may be necessary for him to engage a car in order to attend the meeting. Whether he should be entitled to payment or not should be left to the discretion of the secretary of the committee. Later, there are some qualifying sub-sections, but it seems to me that these sub-sections do not give the secretary authority to pay travelling expenses to a member who is living a lesser distance than five miles from the place of meeting. The Minister should give a certain amount of discretion to the secretary of the committee to decide what would be a reasonable distance to entitle a member to payment of travelling expenses. Nothing else in the Bill deserves very much consideration, but I seriously suggest to the Minister that he should give special attention to the scheme of vocational education for rural areas. They are, certainly, not being catered for in the way they should be catered for. The programme needs to be enlarged in many directions and the Minister should make a special effort to avoid overlapping as between primary and vocational education and the instruction given by officials of the Department of Agriculture.

The principal point, in my opinion, in connection with vocational education is that of extending the school-going period by one year. The last year of the school-going period should be devoted to developing the pupil's mind in regard to subjects which I shall mention presently. In order to do that, additional accommodation should be provided in all the schools. I am particularly concerned with the rural areas and the small rural towns. I do not think that, if such a policy were adopted by the Department and if a room or other accommodation were added to every school, it would be very expensive.

Lectures could be given in the subjects which I have in mind by the different instructors in the county. We have horticultural and agricultural instructors and poultry and butter-making instructresses. Many of the people in the rural areas grumble when they hear of such appointments being made and of the salaries being paid to such people because they do not get an opportunity of deriving as much advantage from the instruction of those persons as they should. That is why I suggest having additional accommodation in all the schools. These appointees could then attend in the different school areas and deliver their lectures. The Department of Agriculture has repeatedly emphasised the value of egg and poultry production. That is a very valuable monetary asset. Many Deputies have spoken of the importance of developing the youthful mind industrially. If you want to do that, you must first develop agriculture. The only way to do that is to give the youth in rural Ireland a chance of developing during their school-going period. If increased agricultural production is encouraged, it will result in more industries being established.

Egg and poultry production are very important branches of agriculture. In my opinion, poultry instructresses should be appointed in every county and should attend the schools for, say, even one and a half hours on one day a week to instruct the girls and the boys if they wish to attend, in methods of production of the best type of eggs and poultry. That would be a most profitable scheme. If we had extra poultry instructresses to carry out that work, it would provide a means of employment for young ladies instead of having them seek employment in Great Britain and elsewhere. That would be a sound policy for the Department of Education and would be a way of developing the agricultural industry.

There is the matter of instruction in domestic economy. Everybody will agree that a good deal of discontent and unhappiness in the home is due to the fact that the housewife is uneducated in housekeeping. Money spent on lectures on that subject would be well spent. The Department should provide such lectures in rural and urban schools.

There are instructors in horticulture appointed by every committee of agriculture. Are they supposed to be figure-heads, to attend meetings of the county committee once a month? In my opinion the appointment of two or three additional instructors by every county committee for the purpose of giving lectures in rural areas would be justified.

Repeatedly, Deputies have dealt with forestry in this House. That is a branch of agriculture that could be developed in rural schools by lectures and practical demonstrations. A year ago, I suggested that in addition to an extra room, plots of at least half an acre should be provided in the schools in rural areas and such plots might also be provided in rural towns. Trees on the land are like good furniture in a house. The youth of the country should be instructed in the planting of trees. In each county, there are six or seven agricultural instructors who help to develop the minds of those boys who are not in a position to attend agricultural colleges. I suggest that they should also attend the schools for the purpose of giving lectures and, where suitable, the instructor should remain at the school to lecture after ordinary school hours. Agriculture is underdeveloped in this country. A knowledge of soil-testing, production of crops, seed-testing, and so on, is very essential, even for the worker. In my opinion, the agricultural labourer is as much a farmer as his employer and requires to be equally skilled. The farmer cannot attend to everything and must depend to a very great extent on his labourer. If the labourer is a skilled man, he will be able to command a better wage, a wage equivalent to the wages paid in industry in urban areas. There should be lectures on milk testing, the value of milk production, the proper methods of producing milk and of obtaining the best results from dairy stock. These things are essential to the development of agriculture.

There is then the question of mechanisation. Farming in the future will be revolutionised 1,000 per cent., I should say. There should be teachers and equipment in the vocational schools and periodically some training should be given to the boys in rural areas who have not an opportunity of attending technical schools. In recent years some boys in the area in which I live were able to have access to machinery and in many cases have obtained good jobs as a result of getting a little training. A little training of that kind in rural schools would help the boy who has not a chance of attending technical schools. I would ask the Minister to provide classes such as I have mentioned in rural areas. By taking a year from the ordinary school-going age, the boy could, at the age of 13, go on to the particular class suitable to him. If he is to remain on the land, that education would be of great advantage to him and would help him to be an asset to the country.

It is generally acknowledged that the time has come when vocational education forms as necessary a part of the educational system as national or secondary school education. How to develop that is a problem. Vocational education in this country so far has been purely experimental. Everybody agrees that the experiment, short as it has been, and in so far as it has been carried out, has given excellent results in, say, 90 per cent. of cases. Many boys and girls take advantage of the vocational schools established in towns and elsewhere for their personal improvement and in some cases have qualified themselves for a livelihood and in many cases that I can vouch for personally, a very lucrative livelihood by this means. The vocational schools established in towns have proved excellent for those within a radius of four to six miles but we must now pay more attention to the rural districts. Many Deputies have deplored the fact that the boys and girls in country districts get no chance. We have from time to time people in high positions deploring the flight from the land. The flight from the land will continue so long as we in this House continue to neglect the most important part of the education of the young. The boys in a country district who go to the national school get a fair measure of elementary education there but, in addition to that, and equally important, some kind of vocational education should be provided.

We have come to the time when we must establish in or near every national school a separate room or small building to provide vocational education for the boys and girls on two or three nights or days per week. From time to time, young men who have had to leave this country and go to England as there was no employment or prospects here, write to me, and very often I meet young men who say: "I wish I had some knowledge of machinery, of building, of concrete work, as when I went over I met Irishmen who had some groundwork in a vocational school or had some experience with skilled people and they were able to go to a job straightway which gave them very good pay." The vast majority of our young men have become hewers of wood and drawers of water in a foreign land. We could remedy that by a proper system of vocational education. There are many openings for young men if they had a chance to develop their natural bents, whether in woodwork, in machinery, in mechanics, in electrical engineering, or on the land itself.

Side by side with that, a scheme of loans is necessary, and I would ask the Minister to take up with the Minister for Finance the question of giving cheap credit, to provide young people who hold a certificate from a vocational school, proving sufficient knowledge or groundwork, with a chance to open up into life with something in their hands, instead of—as happened to many of us in this House—starting off with a national school or secondary school education. We had to face out into the world and depend on whatever knowledge was handed down to us from those who came before us. In cases where that knowledge was not available, through the early death of parents, we had to start at the bottom and gain by experience. There is an old saying that experience is a very dear school to learn in. That is the reason why very many people on the land are fed up with their means of livelihood. They start with the best intentions, with all the freshness of youth, and propose to do great things, but for lack of certain knowledge, which could be made available cheaply to them by the State, they have tried again and again. Very often they have burned their fingers and in some cases wrecked themselves through experimenting. All that should be changed. I would like to see a system of itinerant teachers, male and female, provided for those who want a chance to learn something, in these extra buildings attached to each school.

It may be pointed out that the first response to such a scheme would be small. Very likely it would, but we do not know. It would be well worth a trial. Seeing the success which vocational schools have met with, it is past time we turned to the rural districts. By providing them with a sound education, we could develop many things at home. There are many means of livelihood available in the rural districts if there were a sufficient ground work of education to enable them to go ahead, with a little bit of aid from the Minister for Finance in the way of loans to develop new businesses and small industries. We have some of them starting from time to time, but there is not enough of them. By that means, we could stem the tide of emigration and keep more of our youngsters at home developing our industries.

We must pay attention to rural science, as it is called, or ordinary agricultural education, to call it by its proper name. Listening to the speakers, I thought it very strange that, during the period of England's occupation, there was in the national schools some scheme of agricultural education for the boys in the country districts, but since we got our own Government here 25 years ago that has vanished completely—so much so that one would get the impression that we do not care two hoots about the people in rural Ireland, that we do not think they are worth training. We seem to think they are not worth educating, that it is not worth while training the youngsters to make the most out of their livelihood on the land. The provision we make for other people for business or the professions seems to be denied to the ordinary farmer. I repeat that the system of vocational education should be carried into the heart of every rural district. It might be pointed out that, if that is not done at present, it is the fault of the vocational education committees; but if so, there is something wrong in the legislation and it is up to the Minister and his officials, who are experts in the matter, to investigate it. Now that the emergency is over, a start should be made to provide a livelihood for the people in the country districts, and the money would be well spent.

It is a very nice thing to see what a young man can do on a farmstead or holding. In many cases, I have seen them build their own dwelling-houses to replace the old thatched dwellings which were falling into disrepair and they made an excellent job of them. Then we meet young men who are able to turn out a good deal of their own farm equipment and can make very creditable pieces of furniture for their houses. We find many who, without any help but from watching others working, have done excellent work in concrete, in roofing, and so on. There are young men who, without any previous mechanical knowledge, have put £700 or £1,000 into some mechanical outfit, such as a threshing machine or tractor for the land. It is very nice to see that, but it would be much nicer and better if those men, instead of making costly mistakes through no fault of their own and who were big-minded enough to get on in life, received previously some system of education which would give them at least a rough working knowledge of those things, which would show them the principal pitfalls and mistakes and how to avoid them.

Ní raibh sé de chaoi agamsa éisteacht leis an gcaint go léir a thárla mar gheall ar an mBille seo, ach bhíos ag éisteacht leis an dá chainteoir is déanaí a labhair. Sílim go bhfuil an sean-cheist dá plé arís. Na rudaí atá molta ag an dá chainteoir sin, ní fheadar an rabhdar in ordú nó ná raibh. Teastaíonn uatha araon gairm-scoil a dhéanamh de gach bun-scoil de na bunscoileanna fén dtuaith. Ni fheadar an féidir an dá shórt oideachais a mheascadh—bun-oideachas agus gairmoideachas. Ceist ana-mhór í sin. Dá mbeimís go léir ar aon aigne, go mba chóir glacadh ar maidin leis na moltaí atá tugtha dúinn anseo ag an dTeachta deireannach a labhair, cuir i gcás, bheadh a lán deacrachtaí le sarú sar arbh fhéidir na moltaí sin a chur i bhfeidhm. Bheadh ar dhream éigin sa Roinn nó ar an mBainisteoir an seomra breise a chur in áirithe agus teagascóirí a sholáthar a dhéanfadh an obair a moltar go ndéanfaí. Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil na teagascóirí sin chómh flúirseach agus go mbeadh go leor díbh le fáil chun na hoibre atá leagtha amach dóibh. Má tá na teagascóirí le bheith faoi stiúradh na gcoistí gairm-oideachais, sílim go mbéadh cuid dena coistí agus cuid dena comhairlí contae a sholáthraíonn an t-airgead beagáinín míshásta nuair a chífidís an bille a bhéadh le níoc acu.

Taobh amuigh de sin ar fad, má ceaptar gur moladh maith an moladh seo, ba chóir é scrúdú agus glacadh leis. Ach táim in amhras ar cheart an dá rud a mheascadh in aon chor. Bhíos ag éisteacht leis an Aire agus sílim go ndúirt sé gurb é cuspóir na Roinne scoileanna gairm-oideachais a bheith i ngach ceard den tír, i slí is go mbeadh scoil ghairm-oideachais taobh istigh de chúig mhíle ó gach duine a mbeadh suim aige inti nó a mbeadh uaidh freastal ar a leithéid de scoil. Más féidir é sin a thabhairt i gcríoch, beidh rud maith déanta ag an Roinn Oideachais agus ag na coistí gairm-oideachais. Tuigim gurb é cuspóir an Bhille seo breis chumhachta a thabhairt dona coistí breis airgid a sholáthar don obair atá idir lámhaibh acu. Cé go bhfuil bille na gcoistí sin ag dul i méid in aghaidh an lae, tuigtear do gach éinne nach bhfuil go leor airgid ag cuid mhaith de na coistí anois chun an obair a dhéanamh i gceart. Tá gá i ngach contae, dar liomsa, le breis scoileanna. Níl go leor gairm-scoileanna in aon chontae. Tá ag éirí go maith le cuid mhór de na scoileanna. Tá ard-obair á dhéanamh ag cuid acu agus toradh ana mhaith orthu ach tá cuid bheag agus níl ag éirí leo cor ar bith. "I ndhiaidh a chéile a deintear an caisleán", adeir an sean-fhocal. Tá tairbhe agus maitheas d'aos óg na tíre sa ghléas gairm-oideachais seo má baintear tairbhe as agus má tá an t-aos óg sásta freastal ar na scoileanna agus teagasc a bhaint as an múineadh atá le fáil iontu. Agus ceist eile í sin. Ní bhíonn an freastal ró-mhaith agus i gcuid de na scoileanna ní chuireann an t-aos óg suim ró-mhór san obair atá ar siúl iontu agus ní dóigh liom i gcásanna áirithe go gcuireann túismitheoirí na ndaoine óga morán suime sna scoileanna gairm-oideachais seo. Ní tuigtear fós i gceart cadé an tairbhe agus an mhaitheas atá le fáil ag na daoine óga de bharr obair na scoileanna seo.

Tá alt sa Bhille seo agus baineann sé go speisialta le Cathair Luimnigh, agus leis na sean-choistí a bhí ann i 1919. Is cuimhin liom go maith an rud a thuit amach an uair sin. Sin é an chéad cheard-choiste a chuaigh isteach faoi cheannas Dháil Éireann agus scaradar ar fad leis an réim Ghallda. Ba mhaith liom go mbeadh an tAire cinnte go bhfuil an t-alt seo, chun ceist phinsin na dteagascóirí san a réiteach, i gceart agus nach mbeidh lúb ar lár ann. Is mithid an scéal seo a chur i gceart agus ceist an phinsin seo a leigheas. Tá súil agam go leigheasann an t-alt seo an scéal ar fad agus go socraíonn sé pinsean do gach duine a raibh baint aige leis an dream sin. Rinneadar rud maith ar son na tíre agus tá sé thar am go mbeadh ceist an phinsin sin socraithe.

Tá súil agam go n-éireoidh níos fearr le cúrsaí gairm-oideachais sa tír de bharr an Bille seo a chur i bhfeim. Tá taobh eile de scéim an ghairm-oideachais a gcuirim suim mhór ann, sé sin, tairbhe a bhaint as an ngléas chun ceist aithbheochaint na Gaeilge a chur chun cinn, ach ní hé seo an ócáid chun tagairt a dhéanamh don scéal sin.

This Bill deals with a few specific provisions. Firstly, it proposes to increase the financial provision for vocational education. It also deals with the question of a pension for an individual who served under Dáil Éireann in 1919 and who, under the law, is not eligible for a pension. It also contains a specific provision for Mr. Hugh O'Flynn, and finally with travelling expenses for the members of the committees. As far as the provisions in the Bill for pension and annual allowances for individuals are concerned, I have no doubt that no member of the House will question them. With regard to the provision for travelling expenses for members of committees, I think that the parsimonious policy that is being applied is all wrong. After all, there is a distinction made between the individual who lives five miles distant from the place of meeting and qualifies for the travelling allowance and the individual who lives less than five miles away. It is expected that the latter will not spend more than three hours away from his home. Of course, that is all nonsense because he is going to spend more than three hours in order to qualify for the miserable allowance provided for in that case. The Minister ought to be realistic about this. There may be men who can ill afford to be away, and yet who might be a great asset to the committee—a workingman who is a family man. He might be a very useful asset to the local committee. I suggest to the Minister that he should not be so stingy in a matter of this sort merely because there may be a similar provision in the Local Government Act. The Minister may tell us that he wants to make this provision harmonise with the provision in that Act. I suggest that because the Minister for Local Government has been very mean about it is no reason why the Minister for Education should follow the same line. I would ask him to reconsider it.

The financial provisions in the Bill gave rise to a very wide discussion on education to-night. I want to disagree with some Deputies who expressed certain views. As a matter of fact, I think that in the Minister's speech there was some reference to the difficulty of cultivating an interest in vocational education. I think myself that there is a growing interest and demand throughout the country for vocational education. The people today are beginning to appreciate the value of education. As a member of a vocational committee I sometimes feel that the work we do is to some extent rendered futile because of the lack of finance to provide the necessary facilities for vocational education.

We see that the provision for vocational education is something in the neighbourhood of £577,000 as compared with over £5,000,000 for primary education. We are therefore just barely touching the fringe of the problem. There is no doubt that a good deal of useful work has been done by vocational schools. I think the vocational committees generally are very enthusiastic in their work but I am wondering whether, in fact, the policy that was adopted under the Principal Act and that has been gradually extended for financing vocational education is a proper one, whether we can rely on it to provide the facilities for vocational education that are necessary. The burden of financing approximately 50 per cent. of vocational training is being thrown back on the local committees. I might say that to a very great extent we are throwing back that burden on the primary industry of the country. The Minister under this measure proposes to increase the local rate from 7d. to 9d. in the case of boroughs and for county councils generally from 5d. to 7d. I think it was Deputy Moran who asked, will that end it? I do not suppose it will. The Minister did not give us an estimate of what that increase really means and how much is going to be provided out of the Exchequer. I take it that the contribution will be on a 50-50 basis. The contribution from the Exchequer may be slightly more.

Three to two.

Even that in my opinion will not provide the facilities that are necessary. The demand for vocational education from a great many centres cannot be met. In fact, I am satisfied that the provision will not be adequate to meet the demand that is there. I have expressed the view that I believe this is not the proper way to finance the system. I could understand the view that financing it in that way gives the local committee a certain amount of authority over their own schools. It may appear to do that on the face of it, but to a great extent a cut-and-dried scheme comes down from the Department which has to be adopted by the committee. I agree with Deputy Roddy that so far as education generally is concerned there is lack of co-ordination. Certainly, so far as agricultural education is concerned, there appears to be no co-ordination at all.

It is very hard to know where the responsibility of the Department of Education ends and where that of the Department of Agriculture commences. I have heard numerous complaints also from vocational teachers, who say that they have to carry on the work, as a matter of fact to perform the work, of the primary schools, that in the early days of the pupil's attendance at the vocational school the work is merely that of continuing to lay the foundation of his education. I am not in agreement with the Deputy who suggested that vocational subjects should be introduced into the primary schools because I think it will certainly take all the time of the teachers in the primary schools to lay the foundations for the pupil's later education. There is no room there for the introduction of technical subjects. The proof of that is to be found in the general contention of the vocational teachers that the educational ground work of their pupils generally is not sufficient and that they have to continue the work of the primary schools and introduce vocational subjects as well.

I do not want to take up too much time because many Deputies have already spoken exhaustively on this subject. So far as agricultural education is concerned, I do not think that we can hope under the present scheme to have an up to date knowledge of agriculture imparted to the pupils if we are to rely on schools of this sort to give the necessary technical knowledge. The Minister gave us a good deal of information about the number of schools, the number of teachers in rural districts, and the amount of land and gardens attached to each school. He told us that school gardens vary in extent from half an acre to two acres and he told us that the purposes of such gardens were to conduct experiments with soil, manures, crops under varying conditions, plant sprays and plant propagation.

Does the Minister believe it possible, in a garden of half an acre, to achieve all that work, or did he merely let some civil servant write that out for him? If you think that you are going to give any idea of field conditions in half an acre or an acre you are making a great mistake. Are we satisfied that it is possible to provide the educational facilities essential to equip our people with the necessary knowledge within the very narrow limits provided under the vocational system at present? I want to suggest to the Minister that the first thing we have got to consider is whether it is any use going any further when in four or five years' time we may decide that we cannot provide the facilities that are needed. I do not think that we can provide adequate facilities under the present scheme and that, as far as agricultural education is concerned, we shall have to adopt a completely new system. I think now is the time to have that matter examined and not to commit ourselves to further substantial expenditure without fully realising what results we are going to get and ascertaining whether the results will be adequate for our requirements.

A good deal has been said about the teaching of domestic economy and I agree with the views of those Deputies who referred to that subject. I believe that every girl should get a course in domestic economy as the ultimate aim of the average girl is to preside over a home and to rear a family. Many girls are lacking in the knowledge necessary for that purpose. The aim of the vocational school, so far as females are concerned at all events, should be not merely to teach other subjects but to ensure that every girl gets a course in domestic economy as well. Many of the other subjects taught in the schools, such as carpentry, metal work and smith work, are very useful, beneficial and helpful to young fellows who are anxious to follow certain trades, but I want to conclude by saying that I believe we cannot possibly hope to provide the sort of education necessary for agriculture within these narrow limits, coupled with the county instructors under the Department of Agriculture.

The whole scheme of agricultural education ought to be looked into very carefully, and, as a matter of fact, I think the Post-Emergency Planning Committee recommended that special committees should be set up to examine the whole question of agricultural education, and the sooner a decision is made on that the better. The present system does give some assistance, but it is not sufficient if we are to provide the technical knowledge necessary to enable young farmers to go on to the land with technical education.

For the information of the House, I was told at 8.52 or 8.53 p.m. that the House would not sit to-morrow.

The House will sit to-morrow.

I was then told about 8.59 p.m. that the House would sit to-morrow. As it is a matter which will have to be discussed and ordered, could we have clear information as to whether the House will sit to-morrow or not?

I am adjourning the House until 10.30 a.m. to-morrow.

So the House will sit to-morrow?

As a member of a vocational education committee, I welcome this Bill. I want to say that vocational education in the cities and towns has proved its worth and has done a good job of work for the youth of the country. I am satisfied that vocational education in the rural districts is a very lop-sided affair. The ratepayers of our rural districts are not getting the service for which they are paying. I cannot bring myself to agree with many of the Deputies from rural areas who advocate the adding of a room to every national school in the country. People acquainted with the technical schools must know that we have in these schools woodwork classes, electrical engineering classes, domestic economy classes, and so on, and the addition of a room to a national school will not provide the accommodation necessary for giving vocational education. If this matter is to be tackled as I believe it ought to be, a system of central vocational schools throughout the rural districts is the proper policy for the Department to adopt, if they wish to help the children of the rural community.

There is one other matter which I wish to bring to the notice of the Minister in relation to an inequality which operates particularly in the area of South Louth. We in Drogheda have our own vocational education school, an urban affair. There is also in the county a county vocational education committee which collects the rates from no fewer than seven districts, although they do not spend a single penny on vocational education for the children of the rural community in any of these districts, all of which comprise a very wide area.

I ask the Minister to take note of my complaint in this regard. I believe it to be my duty on an occasion such as this to bring it to his notice. The districts concerned are:—Drogheda rural, east and west, the parish of Termonfeckin, Tullyallen, Clogher Head, Togher, Dunleer and Collon. These are all areas that must pay their 5½d. in the £ which amounts to something like £350 annually, and the people there are then mulcted in additional charges through having to avail of the urban vocational school in the town of Drogheda.

We have repeatedly applied to the county committee for a contribution towards the cost of providing education for the rural pupils. It is a matter which is discussed at every county rate estimate, but we have never been able to get compensation from the county committee for the services we are rendering on their behalf, although the neighbouring County Meath gives us an annual contribution for the vocational education which we provide for the children of East Meath who come into Drogheda for their vocational education. That is an anomaly which the Minister should take steps to put an end to once and for all. I am very glad that the Minister proposes to empower vocational education bodies to increase their demands upon the rates in order to provide additional vocational education for the pupils of our town and district.

I was very much impressed by the speeches of Deputy Roddy, Deputy Heskin, and Deputy Blowick, and by the excellent programme they outlined, which, I am sure, every Deputy would like to see given effect to, if possible, of bringing vocational education to every boy and girl in the country. That is a high ideal to aim at, particularly in relation to the land and its proper utilisation but, like Deputy Walsh, I gravely doubt if the method suggested is the best means of achieving it—the building of an additional room or annex to each national school—because I take it you could not build an annex to one school without building an annex to every school.

I can easily imagine the chaos which would arise if you were to build such an annex to each school and try to bring the vocational instructors, the forestry, horticultural, and agricultural instructors, and the poultry and domestic economy instructresses in there to give time in all these annexes. You would have a position in which confusion would be worse confounded. The excellent scheme envisaged would not produce results, even if the Minister had all the money necessary to give effect to it. I agree with Deputy Walsh that the proper way of attending to this urgent need is an extension of the rural vocational schools and having them built within reasonable distance of the national schools.

In my county, we have done fairly well in that respect. There may be room for some more vocational schools there, but very excellent work has been done. It would be much better if there were a central vocational school in which vocational subjects would be concentrated, in which proper teachers would be available and to which would be attracted the national school children within a reasonable radius rather than to attempt to bring vocational education in on top of primary education in small rooms entirely unsuited for the purpose, thus making it utterly impossible for education in the various crafts to be given.

I am very glad to see the Minister increasing the money available for this very excellent form of education, and I would urge that effect be given as quickly as possible to the extension to the remote rural areas of vocational education. The people there are entitled to it, and are robbed of it only because of their remoteness. With very little in the way of extension of central schools, they could be brought within a reasonable distance. You would thus bring out the vocationally-minded child, whereas if you go into the national schools, you may be preaching to people who are not interested. By having schools set aside for the purpose, you would attract those with a bias towards vocational subjects and get much better results. It is due to the rural children and I trust the Minister will give effect to what I consider is the best and most feasible way, namely, by extending the rural vocational schools to suitable centres adjacent to the maximum number of primary schools and having such a number as would keep the teachers fully employed. That is, I think, a more sensible proposition than those made by other speakers, with whom I largely agree, except that we have a different method of approach.

This Bill sets out to improve the method of vocational education, but not a great deal. Nevertheless, I notice that every Deputy who spoke agreed that whatever extra money will be demanded will be gladly given, because vocational education is as necessary as primary education. There are different ways in which vocational education can be given and every Deputy has his own ideas about that. Each Deputy can put up a good case for his own method. I would not agree with vocational education being given in the primary schools, because the primary schools provide the foundation for the education of the younger generation. At present it is quite a task for children in the primary schools to master two languages and to learn mathematics and the other subjects that are taught. Therefore I think it would be unwise to introduce any kind of vocational education into the primary schools. There is, however, the period from 14 to 17 years of age, after children leave the primary school, in which a lot could be done by way of vocational education in night schools. I am a great believer in night schools.

Take, for example, the United States where thousands of our people with very little education have made good. Any of those who have made progress in the United States will tell you that it was due to what they learned in night schools. A great deal could be done for vocational education in night schools in the way of mechanical training, carpentry, boot-making, tailoring, and, above all, domestic economy.

Then, again, you have the question of agricultural education which, as Deputy Hughes pointed out, can never be taught with a half-acre or acre plot attached to a vocational school. Some things can be learned, but you cannot have a real agricultural education given in that way. A half-acre or an acre plot which has been constantly devoted to experiments of one sort or another is bound to lose its fertility and the soil in one area may not be the same as the soil in another.

As to what can be taught in vocational schools in the night time, people have a certain leaning towards a certain occupation. One may wish to be an electrician. Another may turn to carpentry and another to iron work. These young people can definitely be helped by getting a proper vocational education when they have reached the age of 14 years or over. I am not entirely opposed to giving vocational education before that age, but I maintain that a child has enough to do learning other subjects before that age. If we do not learn mathematics and other subjects, we can make very little progress in vocational education. To add an additional room to every school in order to give vocational education in the rural areas would not, I think, be a very successful method. There may be arguments which can be advanced in its favour. But, as Deputy Keyes has said, it would be impossible to bring to all these schools the instructors necessary to carry on the different classes in order to make them a success. You would also have to install an electric plant of some sort which would entail a lot of expense. Such trades as electric welding and so on are very useful at the present moment. No one can deny that a person who has a trade in which he can utilise his hands will very often make a better livelihood than the person whose occupation demands the use of his brain. We know how successful some of our men and women who have gone across the Channel have been in some of these trades.

I think the best method of promoting vocational education in the rural areas is to erect decent buildings where you can have the necessary plants installed and different trades taught. In that way you would have centralisation. You would be able to choose your centres to suit those who required vocational education. Every Deputy who has spoken has referred to the necessity of teaching domestic economy, which is one of the most essential things that can be taught in a vocational school. We have heard complaints from everybody in town and country that the average housewife is hardly up to the standard which she could reach if she had been taught the little extra in a vocational school.

In the section of the vocational school dealing with domestic economy much could be done to enlighten the average young woman whose ambition, as Deputy Hughes said, is to become the mistress of a home at some time. She would learn better methods of cookery. When she would be taught those things, and given a knowledge of different fires and stoves, her ideas would definitely become modernised. In time she would make an effort to branch out and use a different range in her home to supplement the old open fire. Much could be done in that way to instruct the average young woman in domestic economy and better methods of housekeeping.

I would like to see that sort of thing brought into the rural areas. Take the locality from which I come. The nearest vocational school is 12 or 14 miles away. It is impossible for anybody who has a leaning towards any type of training that can be acquired in the vocational school to get there— even to go to a day school, not to speak of going to a night school.

One thing that has influenced me in taking part in this debate is a carpentry class that has started in my locality. It amazed me when I went there a few nights ago to see the crowd of young men, and even men up to 45 and 50 years, eager and willing to handle saws, planes, spokeshaves and chisels and the other implements which a carpenter uses. They were all anxious to get some knowledge of a trade that would be useful to them on the farm and around the house.

While we all agree that what is learned in a vocational school may not be as good as practical training in a workshop, we realise that the knowledge gained in the school is very valuable. A man, for instance, may be anxious to learn something about mechanics. I do not suppose he would reach the standard of the average mechanic in a garage, but yet the vocational school training would help him along. The same would apply to the carpentry trade. In the school the young boys and men acquire a knowledge which is very valuable in the home. They get hints which are of great value to them in later life. In the technical schools boys and girls get a knowledge of book-keeping and other subjects, and these things have their uses.

There should be more vocational schools established. We are not old enough as a nation to say that we can advance all our branches of education. There may be an outcry if too much were spent on vocational education. But there is an old saying which should be remembered. I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said that anybody who empties his purse into his head makes the best investment of all. Any system of education, primary or vocational, is definitely welcome. I welcome vocational education above all because it has various uses and it helps to make the handyman handier. It enables many people to put pounds into their pockets, to carry out little repairs that otherwise would cost them a lot of money.

There is one thing in the Bill with which I do not agree. I refer to Section 6 (2) (b), which says:

"No person shall be paid expenses under this sub-section in respect of a meeting held at a place less than five miles by any route from his residence."

I think that provision is unfair. Take the average official of a county council or other local authority. If he travels he gets expenses. When road engineers inspect roads they get paid from the moment they start on their travels. The same should apply to instructors, vocational or otherwise, who have to travel around. They should be treated the same as other persons who go five miles or over.

The most important education of all is the education given in the vocational schools. The education given in the vocational schools in my part of the country is of great value to the pupils. If there is any falling away from the attendance in the vocational schools, I am afraid the parents are responsible. I am sorry to say that parents set very little value on educating their children. I do not know if other Deputies will subscribe to that. In my constituency we have a first-class technical school or vocational school in the town of Ferbane and another in the village of Shinrone. We have a splendid modern school in Tullamore and another in Portlaoighise. We have schools also in the villages of Clonaslee and Arles.

I was surprised when I made inquiries in my constituency about the attendances at the technical schools. The Government have provided those schools and they have done everything possible to assist in completing the education of the young people, preparing them for the long, serious battle of life. I am sorry to say that when the boys and girls leave the national school —as I did a few years ago—they have not sense enough to be able to select a vocation to follow, whether it be woodwork or engineering or any other occupation, and so be in a position to get a solid grinding in the local vocational school. The pupils have not the sense at the time to realise the importance of this. That is where the parents should come in. They should insist on the children attending these schools.

In my part of the country we have excellent staffs in the schools. I am sure other Deputies could say the same for their areas. There is neglect on the part of the parents to use their influence so as to get their children to attend those vocational schools. The national school is undoubtedly the poor man's university and the school teacher is the poor man's professor.

The education the children acquire in the national schools is of very little value to them. Let us take the subject of Irish. A great deal of attention has been devoted to Irish in all our schools. It is very unfair that fabulous sums should be provided for the purpose of making good Irish speakers out of our boys and girls.

The fact is that as soon as they have the fáinne they are faced with the emigrant ship. They cannot earn a loaf of bread at home. They are denied the right of employment here, the right of existence in their own land. The Government spend huge sums trying to make Irish speakers and good citizens out of them. Of what use is the money the Government have placed at the disposal of teachers and various committees in order to establish courses for advancing the Irish language? It would be much better if less money was provided for such nonsense and if we put an end to this squandermania. That is the way I look at it.

The Government should provide much more money than has been provided in the past for vocational training. I think it is a downright disgrace to see thousands of pounds spent trying to make Irish speakers out of the children and, as soon as they have got a thorough knowledge of Irish, when they look for some employment, there is not a day's work to be had.

What has this to do with vocational education?

I shall give the Minister an opportunity of making a speech if he has only the manners to listen to me. I think that the money being provided could be spent in a manner which would give much better results. Technical schools serve a very good purpose because they provide a training for whatever vocation those young people propose to follow. As Deputy Heskin ably pointed out, lectures in agriculture are given in these schools but not to the extent we should like in an agricultural country. I attended some of those lectures and I know that young people are anxious to get an opportunity of attending them. But the lectures are not available. These lectures on agriculture should be delivered more frequently and there should be insistence upon attendance at them. I hope I am not going outside the scope of the debate when I say that, if I were Minister for Education, I should make it compulsory on every citizen to attend a vocational school. I think that the day will come when the Government will have to compel the people to attend vocational schools. There would be fewer slackers and idlers if people were made to attend woodwork and engineering classes, which would be of some benefit to them.

As Deputy Heskin ably pointed out, the vast majority of our young girls are unable to serve a suitable meal. I am afraid, speaking as a young man, that a lot of young men are going to get a hell of a "stick" when they select wives and find themselves awkwardly situated. The vast majority of our young girls to-day—and I am in a position to speak with authority on it—are absolutely useless around the house. The reason is that they have got no training. I am referring to the girls in the towns and not in the rural districts, because the girls in the country districts follow the good example given by their parents. A farmer's wife will, certainly, give her daughter a very good training but, when you come to the towns, where the larger population is, instead of girls sacrificing recreation in order to attend domestic instruction classes, you see them clearing off to dances, pictures and other amusements. I suppose that is in accord with the times but some steps should be taken to set matters right in the interest of the nation. The young men and women of to-day will be the important people of to-morrow and I think the day will come when a Government will have to make it obligatory on our people to attend vocational schools. Very valuable work has been done in the past and I hope it will continue. Vocational schools have been of great help in preparing young people for life in the world. Many more teachers should be appointed. We have not half enough manual instructors. Money spent in giving assistance to our young people is well spent. In part of my constituency, we have had appeals for a woodwork class during the winter, and I am sorry to say that no appointments of manual instructors have been made. Where you have young people anxious to learn, every assistance should be given them by the vocational committees and by the Government. That is most important in the case of engineering and carpentry classes and in the case of lectures on agriculture. The Government should take every step to satisfy such demands, because any money spent on education is well spent.

I suppose most Deputies who have spoken have supported the vocational education system. As one who attended a vocational school, I must say that it has its advantages and disadvantages. Take a young lad who leaves school at 15 or 16 years of age. Most parents who are desirous of giving their children a sound national school education insist on their continuing at school until they are 15 years of age and, in some cases, 16 years. He is then sent to a vocational school where he learns carpentry or joinery or smithy work or some other trade. Let us assume that he spends two or three years at a vocational school and that he has acquired a certain knowledge. Does he gain anything when he comes to serve his apprenticeship? Is any allowance made for the knowledge he has acquired? Does his employer give him any consideration, in the form of remuneration, for that knowledge to gain which he cycled in and out in the wet and cold to the vocational school? I understand that there is no acknowledgment by way of remuneration for such knowledge. It will hardly be argued by anybody who served his time to the joinery trade that, after six months' training, a young man is not of certain assistance to his employer, even though he is serving his apprenticeship. But we find that he has got to pay a fee in some cases to be apprenticed to the joinery or carpentry trade or to smithy work or any of those other trades taken up by young men in rural Ireland. That young man may have made every effort to acquire the knowledge placed at his disposal by the instructor in the vocational school. He may be as efficient as the young man who has served three years with the master in the workshop. But if he wishes to take up a joinery job on a housing scheme, he is prohibited by the trade union and he will not be allowed into the trade union movement unless he is able to present his papers. The young man puts himself the question: "What have I to gain; am I not as well to go off and serve my time as to serve two or three years in a vocational school and then find that I have to do the same period over again in a workshop as part of the period of five years which is the recognised period for apprenticeship. I will not be admitted into the union because I have not gone through the process of apprenticeship."

There is a certain amount of discouragement and the young men are not very interested in vocational education. Mayo Deputies know that there is a vocational school in Ballyhaunis. I have been told that the number attending there is very small. It is a fine modern building and we are entitled to ask why it is that in a thickly populated rural area such as Ballyhaunis that should be the case. I am convinced that it is due to matters I have mentioned. Some time ago I wrote to the Department of Industry and Commerce, and was informed that my letter was passed on to the Department of Education, in relation to a young man who was over in England. Like myself he spent a few years there and he noticed that the young men who leave this country, through no fault of their own, and seek a livelihood in Great Britain or America are very anxious to secure a better type of employment than hod-carrying, sewerage cleaning or other heavy work involving sweat and labour. One can hardly blame them. They are very well brought up young men of respectable families. They are seeking the best possible type of employment but they have not the trade and even if they have been to a vocational school they cannot get into the union there, because, as is the position here, the union will not recognise them, irrespective of their qualifications, unless they have a bit of influence and can get in on false pretences, which does happen with unions.

What has that to do with the Bill, exactly?

I am trying to relate that to the value of vocational education, and I am putting it forward as a possible reason why there is such a small attendance at our vocational schools. The question is whether the money which is being spent on vocational education is a paying proposition and what benefits we are getting for that money. That is the reason why I mention that. He wrote to the Department because he was interested in having some idea of brick-building and plastering imparted to the young men because brick-building and plastering are very important to-day in view of the housing problem in Great Britain and this country. All he wanted was the raw material, the bricks, and he was refused the bricks.

He told me that, for demonstration purposes, he had used mortar which could always be reused and put through the same process again, showing the young men how to lay bricks and how to plaster. That was refused on the grounds that, no matter what knowledge a young man would acquire, let him be the best bricklayer in the world, he would get no employment because the unions here would object. Because of that I cannot see much benefit to be derived from these classes except that the young man would have the benefit of that knowledge for work in his own house. He might be able to repair a gate or a door or replace a window, and that kind of thing, but so far as providing him with a qualification for employment, it would be of no use.

I am afraid the Deputy is going beyond the Bill because vocational education will not get a man into a union unless he is apprenticed to a trade.

I acknowledge that, but I am trying to point out that for the money spent on vocational education there is no return and that the young man who attends the vocational school has no outlet for the knowledge he acquires there. That means that the money is spent badly and that the knowledge acquired will eventually be lost over a period of years. Let him be the best joiner in the world, if he does not get practice he will lose his skill. The same applies to domestic economy or anything else. We have not the openings. If we are to advance vocational education there should be openings for those young men and women. Every young girl should get the advantage of training in domestic economy but when it comes to the question of a trade, I feel the reason for the small attendance at vocational schools is the fact that the youth can see no benefit to be derived from attendance. In England, no matter what factory a man may be in, the employer insists on his going to the vocational school at night and pays the man to go and provides the time, so many days in the week or so many nights. Is that done here at the moment? I understand that a boy cannot go into a garage unless he has attended for a year or two at a vocational school but whether the employer gives any consideration for the knowledge so acquired, or not, I do not know but I feel that there is no remuneration or consideration for that knowledge.

That boy has acquired as much knowledge as he would acquire by spending six months in the garage, workshop or factory, at his trade. He has learned how to handle tools and to sharpen saws. Otherwise it would take him six months to acquire that knowledge and before the boss who had any respect for his tools would allow him to handle them. Yet, notwithstanding that he has acquired that knowledge, there is no consideration or remuneration for it but he is expected in many instances to pay a fee. That is my experience and I understand that continues in many places throughout Ireland even where boys have spent a period at the vocational school.

I may inform Deputy Walsh now that we have informed the County Louth Committee that additional State assistance will be available to them when such is needed to carry out their projected development in the county. I am glad to find that there is increased interest in the work of vocational education throughout the country. It has been very satisfactory on the whole to listen to the speeches. They were all designed to be helpful in making the work even more successful than it is. A good many Deputies seemed to feel that substantial progress has been achieved with the schemes, that they are doing good work and that the expenditure is worth while. I think if I had come to ask for more than I was asking in this Bill Deputies would have been satisfied to give it, but we are proceeding on the basis of imposing as little as possible upon the ratepayers and, incidentally, upon the taxpayers. The emergency situation threw a heavy burden upon the schemes. Some committees, as I have said in my opening statement, found it very difficult to carry on and, in spite of the additional penny that we gave them a few years ago, we now find we shall have to give them some additional aid. It is probable that the whole matter will have to be reviewed in connection with whatever decision is being arrived at on the question of the raising of the school-leaving age. If the school-leaving age be raised, the manner in which that is to be brought about will affect vocational education and the financing of the schemes.

I think Deputies will admit that advantage is not being taken generally of the facilities that certainly are available and I feel very much inclined to point out, particularly to Deputy Heskin, that he could do a great deal in his own constituency, if he really believes, as he seems to believe, in the value of the scheme. Deputies who have personal knowledge of the work of the vocational schools, particularly in rural areas, are prepared to testify to the work that has been done.

I would ask them, then, to try to get the farming community to realise the value of the schools. It will strike Deputies as being an extraordinary state of affairs—and it is extraordinary —that in rural areas children are kept away from schools where instruction in shorthand and typewriting is not being provided. Of course, it is felt that that is an avenue towards employment but the whole trend and bias of the schemes, in so far as I can influence them or the Department can do so, is to encourage instruction in rural crafts and aspects of the work that have a particular bearing upon country life. But, if the local people do not take advantage of these facilities when they are made available, and at pretty substantial cost, and if they refuse to encourage the rural bias that so many Deputies are interested in, and the teaching of domestic economy, by sending their children to these schools, what can we do about it?

The position is that, in the ordinary vocational schools, the education that is being given is superior to that in any rural part of any country in the world, I venture to say. You have four teachers there—the manual instructor, the rural science instructor, the domestic economy instructress and the teacher of Irish and general subjects. These teachers are being paid salaries ranging from £200 to £250— perhaps somewhat less in the case of the instructress—and there are the running costs of the school, the cost of materials and so on. If we were to try to provide the type of education that we are giving in these vocational schools in every parish in the country, the cost would run into millions.

I hope that, if the emergency was the reason why full advantage was not taken of the courses provided, there will no longer be any excuse. Even those Deputies who are not members of committees or directly associated with the work, might try to get their constituents to appreciate the education that is being given, particularly for those who have to remain at home. Our inspectors tell me that in the farming mind the idea of education— giving the person who has to remain at home as good an education as those who go outside and look for positions in some other way—is making only slow progress.

We have yet to get away from the idea that the stupid member of the family must be left on the farm or, if he is not stupid, even if he is considered the most intelligent member of the family, then that such attention need not be given to his education as to those who go away. It is even said, and I think it is not very far wrong, that in rural areas the idea has been that the school is to prepare young people for life in the town. It is not realised that the object of these vocational schools—of which we have 100 or so and I hope we shall have another 100—is to try to improve those attending them even in the art of living, even in the way of doing things for themselves on their own land, to learn something about the scientific principles of agriculture, to learn how to use and repair machinery on the farm. Surely all these things would be of value, but the fact to-day is that advantage is not being taken of the facilities. They are costly and if we are to provide teachers in all these practical subjects, we must pay them accordingly and the classes are limited. In the ordinary practical class you cannot go very much beyond 20 in number and, therefore, the cost per hour, having regard to the cost of materials and so on, is much higher. Again, the classes are entirely voluntary. The question of making attendance at vocational schools compulsory raises a very big question which we will be coming to another time. At present, the farming community have not been sending their children regularly to school during the emergency in a great many areas, owing to the claims of agricultural and turf work—and the vocational schools have suffered even more. These seasonal demands that are made for additional labour at home may have a good reason behind them but the point is that specialised instruction by highly qualified—and I suppose I may be excused for saying well paid—teachers results in the general cost per pupil working out at a fairly substantial figure. That is a thing that should be borne in mind by those for whom the facilities are provided.

Another factor which makes vocational education costly is that after a year, perhaps in the second year and very often before the second year is finished, the pupil has an opportunity of getting employment and leaves fairly early in the session. That adds to the cost. If you get the maximum number of pupils at the particular centre and can keep them for the full length of the two-year or three-year course— preferably the three-year course—then you get the maximum result, not alone from the pupils' point of view, as they get the best value from the courses, but you get the most economical results from the staff of teachers.

It is a matter for the committees to utilise the teaching power to the best of their capacity. We do not interfere with that, we try to advise them as to where they are going to place their schools. If they are guided by the chief executive officer and if he understands his duty, he ought to be able to distribute his staff to the best advantage.

It has been suggested that the addition of a room to the national school would be more satisfactory. Those who are closely acquainted with primary education will realise, however, that the numbers in our rural schools are going down very much indeed. A school which had four teachers 30 or 40 years ago has only two now. That means that in the upper classes you have only a handful of pupils, and in such cases it would not be practicable to provide facilities even on a much less expensive scale than the provision of a new room. When I inquired into this matter some years ago I was advised by an architect of some experience that it might be done for about £1,000, but even in the last two years building costs have gone up a good deal. I find it much harder to get work done now in connection with school buildings than it was two years ago, and for some time to come it may be still more difficult. I do not believe we would get the extra room, particularly if you are going to attempt what is perhaps impossible—to have a room where the teaching of both domestic economy and manual instruction or metal work can be carried on alternately—at anything like that figure now. I move the adjournment of the debate.

Debate adjourned.