Written Answers. - Student Teachers.

Theresa Ahearn

Question:

911 Mrs. T. Ahearn asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will provide support for student teachers in University of Limerick while undertaking practical experience; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1064/99]

Liam Aylward

Question:

936 Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Education and Science if the necessary finance will be made available to student teachers attending the University of Limerick towards expenses incurred by them in their teaching practice which is an obligatory part of their course and where no financial assistance is available. [1328/99]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 911 and 936 together.

Teaching practice is not a paid activity in any institution and is viewed as training rather than employment. It is an integral part of the curriculum of the degree programmes in education and there is no special financial assistance available to students for this aspect of their course.

I would point out that the four year second level teacher education programmes in the University of Limerick are approved courses for the purposes of the higher education grants scheme. Under the terms of that scheme, grant holders who are required to participate in off-campus placement as an integral part of their course may have their grant entitlement paid in the normal manner. Accordingly, student teachers who are eligible for grant assistance continue to receive their entitlement while undertaking teaching practice.