(South Tipperary) asked the Minister for Education if he is satisfied that the two weeks course in vocational guidance conducted by his Department is adequate training of personnel for this important service; and if he will reconsider the reintroduction of the scheme whereby graduate teachers may be permitted one year's leave of absence at their own expense for a one year university diploma course.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Vocational Guidance.
The Deputy is under a misapprehension in relation to the extent of the training course in vocational guidance. The training consists of an initial three-week course, followed in the course of the subsequent school year by frequent on the spot assistance and guidance in the school by the Department's psychological service. At the end of a year a further evaluation course of two weeks is held.
I am satisfied of the adequacy of these courses of training in present circumstances. Graduate teachers who wish to absent themselves at their own expense to attend a one year university diploma course may do so at any time without reference to me or to my Department.
(South Tipperary): If it is deemed expedient to have a year's university course on vocational guidance, does the Minister contend that by introducing an ad hoc scheme covering a few weeks he will provide adequate training in this very important subject?
The Deputy does not fully understand the situation. It is a two-tier operation in which we hope to have, inside the next three years a teacher in every post-primary school who will have a basic knowledge of career guidance. Due to the crash courses we have had for teachers, 100 have already been recruited this year and it is hoped to recruit another 100 next year. In addition, we have initiated a psychological service whereby university trained psychologists will be available to deal with difficult cases. The teacher with the elementary knowledge of career guidance will deal with straightforward cases, having regard to the record cards presented from the primary schools and the assessments of the teachers, and the parents concerned. The difficult cases with which the career guidance teacher might not be fully competent to deal will be left to the visiting psychologist who will make a deeper and closer assessment.
(South Tipperary): Can the Minister assure me that no graduate teacher will have difficulty in securing leave of absence at his own expense to do a year's course in vocational training?
There is no problem there.