Written Answers. - Departmental Agencies.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

1005 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Education and Science the committees, boards, companies or other bodies under the auspices of his Department which were established pursuant to statutory instrument; if he will give details of the statutory instrument in each case; if there are any proposals to have the body in question given a basis in statute as opposed to statutory instrument; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19673/00]

I have requested officials of my Department to provide the information requested by the Deputy as soon as possible.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

1006 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Education and Science the committees, boards, companies or other bodies under the auspices of his Department which were established otherwise than pursuant to statute or statutory instrument; if there are any proposals to have the body in question given a statutory basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19688/00]

The following bodies have been established by my Department on a non-statutory basis. It is proposed to place the first three, the National Educational Psychological Service Agency, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland on a statutory basis. There are no plans to place any of the others on a statutory basis.

The National Educational Psychological Service Agency was established on 1 September 1999 on an administrative basis as a dedicated executive agency of the Department of Education and Science. It is proposed to review the operation of the agency by the end of the year with a view to taking a decision on its establishment as a statutory body under the Education Act, 1998.

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment has functioned since 1987 as a non-statutory body. Arrangements are being made to establish it as a statutory body under the Education Act, 1998.

The National Qualifications Authority of Ireland has been set up on an interim basis pending its establishment on a statutory basis as provided for in the Qualifications (Education and Training) Act, 1999. The task of the new authority will be to commence work on the establishment of a national framework of qualifications and to advise on and support the transition to the new certification system as provided for in the Act.

The National Centre for Technology in Education was established within DCU in 1998 under a Memorandum of Agreement between DCU and my Department. The National Policy Advisory and Development Committee was established in 1998 under the Schools IT 2000 Programme. It provides a mechanism whereby the partners in education and the social partners can have an input into the development of policy on the integration of information and communication technologies into schools.
Institiuid Teangeolaiochta Eireann is a company limited by guarantee to advise on language teaching.
Advisory Council for English Language Schools is a company limited by guarantee established to advise on the teaching of English as a foreign language.
The International Education Board Ireland was set up to assist and advise on overseas development co-operation. The Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Science is an independent council in the higher education sector.
With regard to the Early Retirement Advisory Committee and Early Retirement Consultative Council, these bodies were established in 1996 following agreement between the parties to the PCW Agreement on the introduction of a scheme for the early retirement of teachers. The question of having these bodies established on a statutory basis will be considered as part of the review.
The Action Group on Access to Third Level Education was set up to advise the Minister on the development of a co-ordinated framework to promote access to third level education for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, mature students, and students with disabilities. The Commission on School Accommodation was established on a non-statutory basis in March 1996. Gaisce, the President's Award, was set up as a company limited by guarantee to make awards for acts of special merit. Léargas, the youth exchange bureau, is a company limited by guarantee to develop and manage youth educational exchange programmes.
The National Centre for Guidance in Education was established by the Department to act as a resource centre for guidance practitioners and to seek to raise standards and support co-operation and innovation in guidance at national and international level. The Tipperary Rural and Business Development Institute is a company set up to promote the social, economic and environmental sustainability of rural communities by supporting rural based businesses. The Advisory Committee on Traveller Education was set up to advise the Minister for Education and Science on all aspects of educational provision for members of the travelling community. A task force on dyslexia is being set up to examine models of edu cational provision for children with dyslexia, to review and assess the current range of provision and to make recommendations considered appropriate for the development or adjustment of existing policy approaches for children with dyslexia.
A task force on autism is being set up to examine models of educational provision for children with autism, to review and assess the current range of provision and to make recommendations considered appropriate for the development or adjustment of existing policy approaches for children with autism.
The Expert Advisory Group on Pre-Service Teacher Education (Primary) and the Expert Advisory Group on Pre-Service Teacher Education (Post-Primary) were established to carry out a review and make recommendations on pre-service teacher education programmes in the first level colleges of education and on second level teacher education. An Grúpa Oibre Speisialta i leith na Gaeilge is a working group set up to make proposals in relation to the question of student performance in Irish in the junior certificate examination.
The Leaving Certificate Applied Committee, Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme Committee, Transition Year Programme Committee, Post-Primary Language Initiative and School Development Planning Initiative committees are in place to support programmes or initiatives at post-primary level.
Education Equality Initiative Working Group, Pilot Adult Guidance Projects Steering Group, Inter-Departmental Group on Literacy for the Unemployed, Back to Education Initiative – Part-time Options Working Group and the Working Group to Review Post-Leaving Certificate Sector are non-statutory working groups in the further education area.
The Working Group Representative of the Partners in Education was set up on a non-statutory basis to review current arrangements for conducting oral and practical examinations and to make recommendations for a new structure that would address the problems of the current system. The Special Arrangements Appeals Committee adjudicates on appeals in relation to proposed arrangements for candidates with special needs at the certificate examinations.
The National Reading Initiative is a one-year national initiative set up by my Department and based in Marino Institute of Education. It has the twin objectives of raising public awareness of the importance of reading skills and maximising literacy support services available.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

1007 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Education and Science the committees, boards, companies or other bodies under the auspices of his Department which it is proposed to establish; if it is intended that each such body will have a statu tory basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19703/00]

My Department proposes to establish the following committees/boards/companies/ bodies on a non-statutory basis: an education equality initiative working group, a pilot adult guidance projects steering group, an interdepartmental group on literacy for the unemployed, a back to education initiative – part-time options working group, a working group to review post-leaving certificate sector and an early retirement advisory committee and early retirement consultative council, whose statutory basis will be considered as part of the review.

My Department also proposes to establish the following agencies on a statutory basis: voluntary youth work councils in each vocational education area, youth work committees in each VEC, a national youth work advisory committee, a national educational welfare board, following interim arrangement, an advisory body on teaching through Irish, a teaching council, the Teaching Council Bill 2000, a national qualifications authority, a further education and training awards council, a higher education and training awards council, and boards of management in four special schools for young offenders. There is a provision in the Children Bill, 1999, currently awaiting Committee Stage, to put these boards on a statutory footing. No decision has been taken on an Irish academy for the performing arts or section 29 appeals committees which refers to section 29 of the Education Act, 1998.