Broadband Services Provision

Questions (110)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

110. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has any proposals to provide high-speed broadband to the schools in Annaghdown and Corrandulla, County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45420/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Under the Schools Broadband Access Programme the Department provides for the supply of internet connectivity for all recognised primary schools. All contracts under the Schools Broadband Access Programme are regularly reviewed so that schools have access to the best quality connectivity solutions affordable within the available resources. Contracts for these schools were re-tendered last year under a public procurement competition. As a result of this the number of service providers has been expanded from 6 to 13.

As a result, Scoil Breadáin was awarded a 6 Mbit/s connection and was installed on 1/11/12. Scoil Bhrige agus Bhreadáin Naofa was awarded a 8Mbit/s connection and was installed on 20/11/12.

Schools Building Projects Administration

Questions (111)

Joe Carey

Question:

111. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding accessing information in relation to tenders for school building projects after the tender has been awarded; if it is the practice that all those who tendered for a particular scheme are notified in writing where their tender ranked; his Department's policy in relation to this matter; if this information may be accessed through the freedom of information process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45453/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

In line with the Department's Design Team Procedures, standard template letters developed in conjunction with the Capital Works Management Framework and which are available on the Departments web-site, are generally used by schools and their design teams in providing feedback to unsuccessful tenderers. Details in relation to the lowest tender is supplied to all unsuccessful tenderers on large scale projects. Unsuccessful tenderers are given information regarding the apparently most successful tender but are not generally informed of their specific ranking in the list of unsuccessful tenderers. With regard to your query in relation to Freedom of Information process, issues in relation to commercial sensitivity would have to be considered when determining a response to any FOI request.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

Questions (112)

Tom Fleming

Question:

112. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will expedite a student grant application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45463/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland that in the case of the student referred to by the Deputy a letter issued on 22nd October requesting return of the Final Course Acceptance Form. The application will be reviewed on receipt of the requested documentation and a decision will issue to the applicant.

Teaching Contracts

Questions (113)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

113. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a reply will issue to correspondence (details supplied) regarding substitute teachers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45471/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

A reply will issue this week. I regret the delay in replying to the Deputy's correspondence in relation to post-qualification experience for newly qualified teachers. I am aware that there are newly qualified teachers not yet holding teaching positions in schools and I will continue to keep the matter under review.

An increase in the level of supervision and substitution hours to be provided by existing teachers was one of a set of proposals for a public service agreement put forward by the Labour Relations Commission, which now form the Public Service Stability Agreement 2013-2016 (the Haddington Road Agreement). As the LRC proposals are part of a wider public-sector pay agreement that represent compromises by both employers and unions, I do not have the ability to alter the terms of that agreement.

However, I am pleased to inform the Deputy that provision has been made in the 2014 estimates for increases in teacher numbers due to demographics as well as increases in resource teacher numbers. In addition, a number of measures have been taken to alleviate difficulties for new teachers. Managerial authorities of schools have been directed to recruit unemployed teachers ahead of retired ones, in an effort to ease the difficulties for those who cannot find work in the profession. JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme, can provide newly qualified teachers with opportunities to gain experience and to undertake the necessary teaching duties to complete the process of probation.

The Teaching Council has responsibility for induction and probation of both primary and post primary teachers. All teachers must complete their induction and probation successfully before they can achieve full registration with the Teaching Council. If a registered teacher is unable to complete the requirements of a registration condition within the specified period, the teacher may apply to the Council for an extension to that period. The Teaching Council will be able to advise a teacher in relation to how to proceed should this become relevant to him or her.

Higher Education Courses Applications

Questions (114)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

114. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the numbers of students who entered university degree courses in science in 2007 and 2008; the number that continued to second and subsequent years of study; the numbers of those students who were conferred with science degrees; the number of those that did not progress from year to year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45494/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I have been informed by the Higher Education Authority that in 2007/08 there were 2376 new entrants to Science Honours Bachelor Degree courses in the 7 Universities. 11% of these new entrants did not progress from 1st year in 2007 to second year in 2008. The data for completion is not yet available but the completion rate for Honours Bachelor Degree science courses in the 7 Universities for the 2006/07 new entrants is approximately 76%. The most recent report by the HEA on retention and progression, entitled 'A Study of Progression in Higher Education', is available on the HEA website, www.hea.ie.