Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Schools Management Boards.

13.

asked the Minister for Education if he will change the rules for secondary schools in consultation with the appropriate interests, in order to secure the establishment of management boards with adequate representation for teachers and parents.

It is open to secondary schools to establish boards of management constituted as appropriate to meet each school's requirements. I think I answered a question on this last week. These schools are private institutions. It has not been the practice to make rules governing their management and it is not my intention to do so.

Is the Minister aware of the procedure adopted by one of his predecessors in relation to introducing boards of management to primary schools which involved a redrawing of rules for primary schools? Would he not agree that it is open to him to do the same thing for secondary schools as it was for his predecessor to do for primary schools?

I agree that a predecessor of mine took steps to have primary boards established. I agree with it and he deserves praise and commendation for it. As the Deputy knows, a previous Minister also suggested boards of management for secondary schools and any encouragement or help that I can give to establish them I will give. But the fact outlined in my answer still obtains.

Is the Minister afraid to step out of line?

The Minister is afraid of nothing.

Is the Minister aware that unless effective boards of management are set up in secondary schools there will be a lot of discontent among the teachers in those schools?

I am sure what the Deputy says is true.

Is the Minister satisfied just to sit there and not try to change the system?

I will not sit anywhere. I can tell the Deputy that.

The Minister said he would not interfere.

I have already put myself on record, in answer to a previous question by Deputy Noel Browne, that I am in favour of certain representations.

Unlike myself, who would also be in favour of the establishment of boards of management, the Minister is in a position to do something about it.

This argument can take place on the debate on the Estimate for the Department at some other time.

I hope it will be a discussion, a Cheann Comhairle, not an argument.

Are we to take it that the Minister will not do anything to encourage boards of management in secondary schools? Will the Minister take any positive initiative in the matter?

If the Deputy would put down his own question and stop being wet nurse to other Deputies who put down questions I think I would have a chance of answering him.

On a point of order, the Deputy is fully entitled to ask a supplementary question.

Certainly.

Deputies will agree that there is a limit to the number of permissible supplementary questions.

I agree, a Cheann Comhairle, but let you put the limit on them and not the Minister.

I called Question No. 14 some time ago.