Written Answers. - Leaving Certificate Art Work.

Edward Nealon

Question:

79 Mr. Nealon asked the Minister for Education the current position regarding the Price Waterhouse investigation into the disappearance of all the works submitted by students for the craft option of the art examination in the 1995 leaving certificate by students of the Ursuline College, Sligo and other colleges and the subsequent failure of the system to detect the source of the problem; if the investigation has not yet been completed, the reason therefor; if the investigation has been completed, the reason for the delay in publication of the report; if her attention has been drawn to the anxiety and tension that this is causing amongst teachers and students in the Ursuline College in Sligo in view of the fact that the 1996 leaving certificate is drawing closer; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8405/96]

Edward Nealon

Question:

82 Mr. Nealon asked the Minister for Education, in view of the Price Waterhouse investigation into the difficulties that arose with the work submitted by some students, particularly from the Ursuline College, Sligo, for the craft option of the art examination in the 1995 leaving certificate, the recommendations, if any, that have been made concerning the appeals procedure in the case of all leaving certificate subjects in order to fully secure public confidence in this process; the recommendations, if any, for improvement in this area that will be implemented for the 1996 examinations; if so, when she intends to publish these recommendations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8408/96]

I intend to take Questions Nos. 79 and 82 together.

The investigation by Price Waterhouse into the operation of the 1995 leaving certificate art examination has not been completed.

The current position is that most of the fieldwork associated with this inquiry has been completed by Price Waterhouse and preparation of the report is at a very advanced stage.

Given the nature of the inquiry, it is essential that the principles of natural justice be fully complied with and the procedures being followed by Price Waterhouse are designed to ensure that this is the case. The position in relation to the review of the appeals procedure is that aspects of this have been looked at in the context of the art inquiry. Price Waterhouse intends to commence work on the more general areas of the review shortly.

The Deputy will be aware that in order to fully secure public confidence in the 1996 examinations, I recently announced an interim package of priority measures designed to improve the operation of the 1996 leaving certificate examination. These measures, which were discussed with Price Waterhouse, are in line with its thinking in preparing its report.

Edward Nealon

Question:

80 Mr. Nealon asked the Minister for Education if she will confirm reports in a national newspaper (details supplied) that the works submitted by students in the Ursuline College, Sligo, for the craft option of the art examination in the 1995 leaving certificate have been discovered in a storeroom at a factory in the town; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8406/96]

I am informed that the craftwork pieces referred to by the Deputy have not been found.

As part of the ongoing inquiry into the operation of the 1995 leaving certificate art examination and at the request of Price Waterhouse, An Post was asked to assist in tracing a package of craftwork dispatched by post by the Ursuline College, Sligo. An Post was given a copy of a certificate of posting which was supplied by the Ursuline College. This certificate contained a customer reference number and the address of the Department's examinations branch in Athlone.

An Post has notified my Department that its records confirm receipt by it of an item addressed to the Department's examination branch. An Post's records suggest that the customer reference in question was signed for by an employee of a company with premises in Sligo. An Post has also indicated that there is no conclusive link between the signing of this customer reference and the actual receipt of the package originally posted by the Ursuline College.

The information supplied by An Post has been communicated to Price Waterhouse so that it may be taken into account in the compilation of its report.