Thursday, 7 March 2013

Questions (36, 58)

Derek Keating

Question:

36. Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to develop adult education or courses in further education for those who have left school early or those who are changing careers due to the economic crisis; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there are already excellent back to school and or back to college courses available via vocational education committees and community colleges of education (details supplied); if he will consider reviewing his policy and developing a major programme of course development particularly for those who are on the long-term unemployment register or for those who find themselves at home due to various circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12001/13]

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Derek Keating

Question:

58. Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there are already excellent back to school and back to college courses available via vocational education committees and community colleges of education; if he will consider reviewing his policy and developing a major programme of course development particularly for those who are on the long-term unemployment register or for those who find themselves at home due to various circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12002/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 36 and 58 together.

In 2013 my Department will fund up to 430,000 education and training places across the range of provision in the higher education, further education and training sectors. The Government's objective in this area is to raise the educational and skills levels of adult learners, particularly among the unemployed, in areas where employment opportunities are emerging. The Government has introduced a number of initiatives such as MOMENTUM, Springboard and ICT skills to address the specific skills needs of enterprise and to support jobseekers, with emphasis on the long term unemployed and young unemployed people. SOLAS, the new education and training authority will be tasked to develop a clear strategy for the Further Education and Training sector that is consistent with policy in this area to enable informed prioritisation of scarce resources by my Department and its agencies.

I am aware of the wide range of self funded evening classes provided by Voluntary Secondary, Community and Comprehensive and VEC schools across Ireland for adults of all ages. The Action Plan for SOLAS includes a commitment to undertake a review of the nature and extent of self-funded adult education evening classes delivered by VECs.