Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Career Guidance.

32.

asked the Minister for Education the number of persons who acquired qualifications as guidance teachers in this country in the current year.

33.

asked the Minister for Education the number of careers guidance teachers in (a) community and comprehensive schools (b) vocational schools and (c) secondary schools on the latest date for which information is available; and the number of schools concerned in each category.

34.

asked the Minister for Education how many of the total number of guidance teachers in post-primary schools are full-time guidance teachers; and how many are also required to teach other subjects.

35.

asked the Minister for Education the number of schools, if any, which are entitled under his Department's regulations to employ more than one guidance teacher.

36.

asked the Minister for Education the number of career guidance councillors acting at the level of secondary education; and what measures, if any, his Department have for expanding the access of secondary students to career guidance.

With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take questions Nos. 32 to 36, inclusive, together. The number of persons who acquired recognised qualifications as guidance teachers in this country in the current year was 30.

The total of 379 qualified guidance teachers at present employed in post-primary schools is distributed as follows: 245 in 242 secondary schools; 102 in 95 vocational schools; 13 in 10 comprehensive schools; 19 in 18 community schools.

All of the 379 qualified guidance teachers at present serving in post-primary schools are employed on a whole-time basis. Each is required as a general rule to devote at least 12 hours per week to guidance work and at least three hours per week to ordinary classroom teaching. The number of post-primary schools in which a second guidance teacher may be employed, within the quota, is 72. The existing arrangements for the employment of guidance teachers would appear to me to be reasonably satisfactory.

Would the Minister not agree that at the present rate of production of qualified guidance teachers it will be some time after the year 2000 before we have enough for our schools and in the light of this will he not do something to make sure that there are more guidance teachers available?

I will try to do something about this. The training of guidance teachers was totally suspended for a period and this was a considerable setback.

The remaining questions will appear on tomorrow's Order Paper.