Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Questions (57)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

57. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills to outline the position regarding upskilling and retraining in the area of Java programming (details supplied). [23778/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I am informed by SOLAS that the Department of Social Protection refers eligible unemployed candidates to its Java Programming courses on the understanding that the applicant has the capacity to undertake and complete the course.

Research indicates there is little evidence to suggest that longer duration programmes are more effective than shorter duration programmes providing applicants have the capacity to undertake the course and meet the specific course pre-requirements and the learner profile.

Certification is documentary evidence that the candidate was able to meet the objectives of the course and is common practise worldwide.

Universities are autonomous institutions within the meaning of the Universities Act 1997 and the management of their academic affairs, including the selection and delivery of courses are matters for individual universities. Universities receive a block grant from the Higher Education Authority and it is a matter for each university to determine how it is allocated internally. The decision of any university to provide specific programmes is a matter for the university concerned.

The Government has recently published its second ICT Skills plan which is designed to assist higher education institutions to produce more graduates with the skill-sets necessary to fill ICT skill gap and meet the demands of employers in Ireland. All computing courses at degree level at Irish higher education institutions operate on the basis that once a student has acquired knowledge of one programming platform these generic programming skills are easily adapted and transferred to other platforms. As a student progresses through their degree they have ever increasing opportunity to specialise in different computing languages including Java.

Since 2011 my Department has introduced two new competitive funding streams at higher education level that address the specific skills needs of industry and supports jobseekers into employment - Springboard and the ICT skills conversion programme. All courses approved for funding under these initiatives are selected by an independent panel with industry and educational expertise having regard to guidance from Forfás and the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs on current and future skills needs of enterprise. One of the key areas for focus for Springboard and the ICT skills conversion programme 2014 is in Programming languages to include Java knowledge.