Private Schools

Questions (50)

Dara Murphy

Question:

50. Deputy Dara Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills with regard to language school closures to explain the financial bonding requirements for setting up these language schools. [23683/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The English language school sector is not subject to mandatory regulation in the State. However, English Language Teaching Organisations (ELTOs) may seek recognition from Accreditation and Coordination of English Language Services (ACELS), which is operated by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). In order to gain ACELS recognition, ELTOs must demonstrate their compliance with ACELS standards, which set out requirements relating to the management of the ELTO, teaching and learning, students welfare, premises and accommodation and other relevant matters. ELTOs are not required to put in place financial bonding arrangements in order to gain ACELS recognition.

It should be noted that none of the private colleges which have recently closed had ACELS recognition at the time of their closure.

Under the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act, 2012, QQI provides for the introduction of a Code of Practice for the education of international learners, and related International Education Mark. These will be rolled out from the end of this year and will replace the current ACELS regime. The Code of Practice will include requirements relating to protection for enrolled learners (PEL), which can include financial bonding in certain circumstances. Providers will have to demonstrate compliance with the Code of Practice in order to be granted authorisation to use the International Education Mark.

Higher Education Institutions

Questions (51, 64)

Clare Daly

Question:

51. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills to set out the action he will take to ensure that students at All Hallows College who are in the middle of their education are allowed to complete programmes such as the ALBA programme, which is undertaken mainly by mature students and which is validated by DCU; and if he has undertaken any review of the way in which other educational organisations can take them on to complete the programme. [23721/14]

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Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

64. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills to detail the potential solutions that can be found by his Department in conjunction with a college (details supplied) in north Dublin to keep the historic college open. [23909/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 51 and 64 together.

All Hallows College is a private college and is not an approved institution under the Higher Education Authority (HEA). It does not receive core funding, however, my Department provides a grant in lieu of tuition fee funding to the College in respect of three approved undergraduate courses. Whilst there is a cap on the number of students to which such free fees funding applies , the College has not reached that number since its introduction. Funding of 430,000 for the 2013/14 academic year has been allocated to All Hallows. The ALBA programme referred to by the Deputy is a part-time course and is therefore not an approved course for fee fees funding. A wide ranging reform programme of the higher education system is being implemented arising from the modernisation framework in the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030. That report recommended that continuing funding support for institutions such as All Hallows, who receive limited public funding for specific programmes, should be a matter for the HEA and subject to ongoing review in the context of quality outcomes, overall demand and available provision within relevant regional clusters. In their consideration of the limited free fees funding that is allocated to All Hallows, the HEA concluded that existing provision should be continued. The Deputy will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for my Department to become involved in issues surrounding courses in one college whilst the overall reform agenda is underway. My Department does not have a role in the placement of students in any third level institution, including All Hallows College, however, I welcome the fact that the college has stated that it intends to wind down in a phased basis in order to facilitate as much as possible the completion of students' studies.

Schools Review

Questions (52)

Niall Collins

Question:

52. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the report on post-primary provision in Limerick, including the areas of Croom and Pallaskenry, for the period 2014-20 by a person (details supplied) is finalised; when the findings will be made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23726/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

A review of the configuration and development of post-primary provision for Limerick city and part of its environs over the period 2014 to 2024 for the Department is currently underway by Mr. George O'Callaghan. It is anticipated that the report concerned will be made available, when completed, in the near future.

School Enrolments

Questions (53)

John Lyons

Question:

53. Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide statistics in tabular form related to projections for demand for second-level schooling in the feeder areas within the districts of Dublin 7, 9 and 11, over the next five, ten and 15 years respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23728/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

School planning is not carried out on a postal district basis. Each of the areas to which the Deputy refers form part of different school feeder areas for school planning purposes. Provisional projections for the relevant feeder areas are provided in the following table.

The Deputy should be aware that a number of factors will influence the projections such as mobility of students in large urban areas due to the availability of a range of public transport options and parents making choices as to where they will send their children to school. The Department is currently analysing demographic data on a nationwide basis, including the areas concerned, to determine net additional need.

The delivery of major school projects required to meet demographic demand will be the main focus for capital investment in the coming years. The Department's Five Year Construction Plan prioritises new school building projects as well as major extensions in areas where a demographic need has been established.

Provisional Post-Primary Projections for the feeder areas within the Dublin 7, 9 and 11 areas.

Feeder Area:

Actual Enrolment

Projected Enrolment based on current intake rate

Dublin 7.

2013

2018

2023

2025

Cabra_Phibsboro_D7 (Part of feeder area)

3,420

3,640

4,184

4,531

Small Part of Drumcondra (see below)

Dublin 9.

2013

2018

2023

2025

Beaumont_CoolockD5 (Part of feeder area)

3,171

3,111

3,248

3,239

Drumcondra_Marino_Dublin1 (Part of feeder area)

3,914

3,906

4,907

5,722

Whitehall_SantryD9

1,722

1,513

1,620

1,685

Dublin 11.

2013

2018

2023

2025

FinglasEast_BallymunD11 (Part of feeder area)

485

559

831

1,050

Mulhuddart_Tyrrelstown_D15 (Part of feeder area)

405

713

1,153

1,415

Scribblestown_FinglasWest (Part of feeder area)

1,106

1,499

2,265

2,584

Small Part of Cabra (see above)

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (54)

Derek Keating

Question:

54. Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide an update on the construction of a school (details supplied) in County Dublin; if he will provide a detailed report on the reason there are delays in the construction of this school; the action that will be taken to expedite the building process in view of the many concerns that have been expressed by parents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23733/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The delivery of the new school building referred to by the Deputy has been devolved to the Office of Public Works (OPW). I understand from the OPW that the contractor who had been selected to construct the school withdrew prior to work commencing on site. The OPW engaged immediately with the second placed contractor and unfortunately this contractor was unable to meet the conditions attaching to the tender competition. The OPW is now in discussions with the next placed contractor in the tender competition. These discussions are at an advanced stage and, subject to no insurmountable difficulties arising, a contract will be placed in the near future and construction will commence on site.

Education and Training Boards Staff

Questions (55)

Colm Keaveney

Question:

55. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a person (details supplied) in County Galway is entitled to a redundancy agreement signed on 10 June 2013 following an offer letter dated 7 June 2013 from City of Galway VEC; if this person still has a contract of employment with the VEC; the details of the gratuity and pension entitlements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23771/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The person referred to by the Deputy is employed by Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board (GRETB). I understand from GRETB that this person was employed in the Senior Traveller Training Centre programme which was phased out in 2012. This person was inadvertently offered voluntary redundancy by GRETB in 2013, however, the offer was withdrawn as he did not meet the eligibility criteria which were in place for this voluntary redundancy scheme. The terms of this voluntary redundancy scheme were as laid out in the collective agreement reached between the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Public Services Committee of ICTU which detailed a framework concerning ex gratia payments on the redundancy of public servants.

This person was subsequently re-assigned to an alternative position of employment with GRETB. Given that GRETB is his employer any queries in relation to the terms and conditions of his current employment should be addressed directly to GRETB.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (56)

Michael McGrath

Question:

56. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills to detail the progress that has been made in securing a permanent site for a new school building (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23774/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department is working in conjunction with Cork County Council towards securing a permanent site to meet the needs of the school referred to by the Deputy. I can advise the Deputy that options are currently under consideration, but due to the commercially sensitive nature of site acquisitions, I am not in a position to provide further details at this time. Once the acquisition of a site is finalised, the project will be progressed towards tender and construction stage.

Skills Shortages

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.