Committee on Finance. - Vote 39—Oifig an Aire Oideachais.

Tairgim:—

Go ndeonfar suim nach mó ná £216,390 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an mhuirir a thiocfas chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31ú de Mhárta, 1953, chun Tuarastal agus Costas Oifig an Aire Oideachais agus chun Costas a bhaineas leis an gComhairle Oideachais.

An t-airgead atá á iarraidh sna hocht vótaí i gcóir na seirbhísí a bhfuil a riaradh mar chúram ar an Roinn seo agamsa is é is suim iomlán dó ná £10,252,000. Sin méadú iomlán de £193,810, agus is ionann sin agus méadú de 1.9 faoin gcéad ar mheastachán na bliana anuraidh.

Is é an méid iomlán atá dá iarraidh i mbliana ná £324,390. Is é an méid a soláthraíodh an bhliain seo caite, 51/52, náa £329,580. San tsuim sin bhí £39,490 ar son árduithe tuarastail. Ós rud é, ámh, gur bhain an tsuim sin £39,490 leis an tréimhse ón 5ú lá d'Eanáir, 1951, is é sin an lá a tosnaíodh ar fheidhmiú na n-arduithe sin i gcóir na Stát-Sheirbhíse go coitianta, go dtí an 31ú lá de Mhárta, 1952, is é an méid den tsuim sin a bhain leis an mbliain 1951/52 ná timpeall £32,500.

Seacht nduine is cúig céad an hoireann atá sa Roinn i mbliana— sin ceathrar níos lú ná foireann na bliana anuraidh. Bé faoi ndeara an laghdú sin ná an Scéim Eagair is Modh. Tá súil againn go mbeidh ar ár gcumas an fhoireann a laghdú a thuilleadh do réir mar is féidir tairiscintí eile faoin scéim sin a chur i bhfeidhm.

Os rud é gur faoin Vóta seo a thagann na costaisí a bhaineann leis an gComhairle Oideachais, sílim gur cheart tagairt choitianta a dhéanamh anseo don obair atá dá dhéanamh ag an gComhairle go dtí seo. Tá an Chomhairle ag gabhail fós do na ceisteanna a cuireadh faoina mbráid ag an Aire a bhí ann nuair a cuireadh an Chomhairle ar bun, is é sin

(1) Feidhm na Bunscoile, agus

(2) An clár ba cheart a leanúint ó bheith ina naíonáín do na daltaí go haois dhá bhliain déag dóibh.

Le linn tuairimí agus moltaí i dtaobh na goeisteanna sin a chóiriú, niorbh fholáir leis an gComhairle féachaint isteach go mion sna socraithe atá ann faoi láthair i dtaobh an bhun-oideachais agus an iar-bhunoideachais, agus go mór-mhór, i gceist na haoise inar cheart do na daltí éirí as an scoil, agus féachaint cad é an treo ba cheart, dar leis an gComhairle, a chur ar an oideachas suas go dtí an aois sin, agus ina dhiaidh. Tá an chuid sin d'obair na Comhairle geall le bheith críochnaithe. Níor mhiste, mar sin, bheith ag súil leis go mbeidh cnámha na tuairisce, an méid a bhaineann le feidhm na Bunscoile an chuid is lú dhe, i gcóir gan ró-mhoill.

De thoradh fógra nuachtáin agus cuireadh do chuallachtaí agus do chumainn áirithe, fuair an Chomhairle 69 ráiteas inar tugadh tuairimí agus moltaí i dtaobh na gceisteanna atá dá bplé acu. Ach toisc go raibh ar an gComhairle bheith ag fanacht le ráitis a gealladh dóibh, ní raibh ar a gcumas teacht le chéile uair sa mhí mar a bhí ar aigne acu a dhéanamh ar dtúis. Do tionóladh acu, ámh, ocht seiseon lae i rith na bliana.

Ba mhaith liom mo mhór-mheas agus mo mhór-bhuíochas a chur in iúl annso ar fheabhas na seirbhíse a thug an Cathaoirleach a fuaír bás le déanaí, An Canónach Ró-Oirmhidneach Donn cha Ó Caoimh. Is mór an t-aithreachas atá orm a leithéid d'fhear léinn agus oideachais a bheith caillte orainn. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

VÓTA 40—BUNOIDEACHAS.

Is é an méid iomlán atá dá iarraidh i gcóir na bliana seo, £7,333,160, sin luíodú de £9,790. Tá cuid de ranna an Vóta a bhfuil méadú beag gnáthdhálach tagtha orthu.

Tá méadú de 1,500 tagtha ar an meán-uimhir ar rollaí na scol náisiúnta thar uimhir na bliana anuraidh. 83.3 an meán-tinreamh laethúil ina chéadchodán den mheán-uimhir ar an Rolla. Níl sé sin chomh maith leis an gcéadchodán don bhliain 1949/50, is é sin, 85.1. Ach bhí galar tógálach go foirleathan sa tír in earrach na bliana 1951 agus do chuir sé sin isteach go mór ar an meán-tinreamh agus a bheag nó a mhór ar an meán-uimhir ar an Rolla.

Tá de rogha anois sna scoileanna an mheán-uimhir tinrimh nó an meán-uimhir ar an Rolla d'áireamh i gcúrsaí foirinne, agus fágann sin post an oide níos sabháltá, agus toradh eile gur fearr na foirne atá ins na scoileanna dá bharr.

Cé go bhfuil na Coláistí Oiliúna lán, níl dóthain oidí oilte ar fáil fós, agus is fíor é sin go mór-mhór i dtaobh na mban-oidí. Is féidir liom a insint don Dáil go bhfuil slithe dá n-iniúchadh agus dá meas im Roinn faoi láthair chun líon níos mó oidí oilte a chur ar fáil. Is do réir an ghná-nóis a thabharfar isteach iad. i. timpal 33? faoin gcéad gach bliain ó na Coláistí Ullmhucháin; lucht saor-iomaíochta, céimnithe ollscoile agus lucht Ord Rialta an chuid eile.

Sa bhliain 1951 bhí 32,209 ar an Teastas Bunscoile—an líon is mó ón mbliain 1944 anuas, agus d'éirigh sa scrúdú le timpeal 24,000 iarrathóir.

Tá trí nithe sa Vóta seo a bhaineann le hathbheochaint na Gaeilge .i. deontaisí do Choláistí ina mbíonn cúrsaí léinn doidi bonasai do thuisti agus do chaomhnóirí daltaí áirithe sa Ghaeltacht agus sa Bhreac-Ghaeltacht, agus deontas-i-gcabhair le haghaidh scoláireachtaí saoire sa Ghaeltacht. Ní móide go bhfuil gá feasta ag oidí na mbunscol le cúrsaí samhraidh sa Ghaeilge agus tá an costas faoin cinn-teideal seo imithe i luíod go mór. Ní foláir do na hiarrathóirí ar dhul isteach sna Coláistí Oiliúna labhairt agus scríobhadh na Gaeilge a bheith an-mhaith acu, agus is i nGaeilge a tugtar an teagasc sna Coláistí Ullmhucháin agus sna Coláístí Oiliúna. Ina theannta sin, is féídir an teastas dá-theangach a ghnóthú ag scrúduithe cínn-chúrsa na gColáistí Oiliúna. An bónas a tugtar do thuistí agus do chaomhnóirí ís do réir deontais cúig phunt an dalta oibrítear é. Tá méadú beag ar an mbónas i mbliana. Sa scoil-bhliain 1950/51 tugadh an bónas i leith 700 páisde agus daltaí bunscoile a bhfurmhór mór. Is le comh-oibriú Coistí na bPáistí a riartar an chion-íocaíocht le haghaidh scoláireachtaí samhraidh. Sa bhliaín 1951/52, bhí trí coistí páirteach sa scéim agus cuireadh 340 páiste chun na Gaeltachta.

Ba mhaith liom, i leith an Vóta so, tagairt don mhéid atá dá dhéanamh ar son an chinéil páistí a dtugtar de ghnáth páistí éislinneacha orthu. Is maith liom é bheith ar mo chumas a rá i dtaobh na scoileanna i gcóir na ndall, gur fusa anois níos mó den teagasc aonair, rud atá fíor-riachtanach, a thabhairt dóibh de bharr líon na n-oidí a mhéadú. Tá dóchas agam leis go mbeidh ar mo chumas an cineál céanna feabhais maidir le foirinn agus fearas a chur ar scoileanna na mbodhar is balbh. I dtaobh páistí a bhfuil éislinn aigne orthu, deirim anseo go poiblí gur mór é mo mheas ar an obair atá dá dhéanamh ag Bráithre, Mná Rialta agus tuath-oidí do na páistí seo i scoileanna na nOrd Rialta. Tá an scéal céanna le rá agam i dtaobh na scoileanna eile. Tá Bille faoi chomhairle an Aire Sláinte faoi láthair le haghaidh lucht éislinne, idir óg agus aosta, agus nuair a bheidh an Bille sin achtaithe ag an Oireachtas beidh ar mo chumas a chinneadh cad a bheidh riachtanach chun oideachas oiriúnach a thabhairt do na páistí éislinneacha seo. Má soláthraítear scoileanna oiriúnacha agus foirne dea-oilte is féidir páistí lag-intleachta d'oiriúint, is é sin, an méid díobh is inoilte, chun go mbeidh ar a gcumas iad féin a chothú, a bheag nó a mhór, agus dá bharr sin saol níos iomláine agus níos sona a chaitheamh.

Cé ná fuil mírcheann ar bith sa Vóta seo do thógáil na mBunscol is ar Roinn an Oideachais atá sé mar chúram na deontaisí atá le fáil chuige sin a dháileadh. I rith na bliana seo ghabh tharainn do roinneadh deontaisí de naoi gcéad míle punt. Níor deonadh riamh suim níos mó ná sin i mbliain amháin. Dá ainneoin sin féin nílim sásta leis an dul ar aghaidh atáimid a dhéanamh ar an mbóthar chun deireadh a chur leis na sean-tithe mí-fholláine, agus tithe oiriúnacha a chur ina n-ionad, tithe ina mbeidh gach áis agus fearas atá riachtanach. Táim chun mo dhícheall a dhéanamh chun an obair seo a bhrostú. Ní mór ina theannta sin féachaint chuige go gcoimeádfar na tithe scoile mar ba chóir, teas oiriúnach a bheith iontu sa droch-shíon, agus iad a choimeád glan folláin. Is é mo thuairim go bhfuil an córas seo againne—agus níl a leithéid eile ar domhan—anoiriúnach don tír seo, agus ag cuimhneamh ar an gcóras sin dom creidim gur cheart go mbeadh an mhuintir áitiúil, agus iad faoi stiúradh na mBainisteoirí, freagarthach i gcónaí, ar shlí chinnte dearfa, sna scoileanna, an méid a bhaineann lena dtógáil, a gcoimeád, a ndeisiú, a dtéamh agus a nglanadh. Ní leor an freagra atá dá fháil ón bpobal sna blianta deireannacha seo agus is iomó cúis atá leis sinCé go raibh an chion-íocaíocht áitiúil le haghaidh tógáil na scol sa bhliain atá díreach caite seacht 17.3 faoin gcéad den iomlán i gcomparáid le 13 faoin gcéad sa bhliain roímis sin, ní mór a thuiscint dá mbeadh na coiníollacha ar fheabhas gur chóir go bhfaghfaí trian den iomlán mar chion-íocaíocht.

Samhlófaí, dá bhrí sin, gur mhithid réiteach nua a dhéanamh a laghdódh a bheag nó a mhór na deacrachtaí a bhaineann leis an socrú atá ann faoí láthair. Is mór le rá agus is deacair ar fad mar fhadhb le réiteach conas is féidir scoileanna a sholáthar sna cathracha agus go mór-mhór i gCathair Bhaile Atha Cliath. An t-aistriú teaghlach go dtí ceanntracha nua cónaithe, cuireann sé go mór leis na deacrachtaí. Tá coiste comhorduithe ar bun sa chathair seo le tamall ar a bhfuil teachtaí ón Eaglais, ó na Ranna Stáit agus ó Bhárdas Bhaile Atha Cliath, agus tá mo Roinnse, le cúnamh an Choiste sin, ag féachaint chuige ná beidh feasta oiread moille agus a bhíodh idír aistriú na dteaghlach agus tógáil na scol sa limistéar nua. Tá dóchas againn ná beidh ar ball moill ar bith eatarthu.

Bhí ceisteanna tuarastail agus sochair oifige le haghaidh oidí na mBunscol dá bhféachaint agus dá bplé í rith na bliana faoín scéim idir-réitigh agus eadrána a cuireadh ar bun chun molta a thabhairt i dtaobh na gceisteanna sin. Is mór an sásamh aigne dhom é gur thárla socruithe tábhachtacha idir teachtaí ó Chumann na Múinteoirí Náisiúnta ar thaobh amháin agus teachtaí ó na Ranna Stáit ar an dtaobh eile. Tá glactha ag an Rialtas leis na socruithe sin agus tá na dualgaisi a thagann mar thoradh astu dá gcomhlíonadh. Ba léir an dea-mhéin agus an muintearas idir an dá thaobh le linn na ndiospóireachtaí agus na gcúrsaí gnótha uile, agus is maith an comhartha é ar an gcaidreamh a bheidh feasta idir an Roinn seo agus na hoidí gurbh fhéidir na socruithe sin do thabhairt chun críche gan dul thar an idirréiteach.

VÓTA 41—MEÁN-OIDEACHAS.

Is é méid airgid atá ag teastáil ná £1,268,970 nó £56,850 níos mó ná an méid do hiarradh anuraidh.

Sa bhliain airgeadais seo chuaigh thart bhí 10 meán-scoileanna aithinte sa bhreis ann, 434 in ionad 424, agus 1,500 scoláire sa bhreis, 50,179 in ionad 48,559. Tá an méadú leantach sin ar líon na scoláirí ar cheann de na tréithe is mó tábhacht ar fhorbairt an mheán-oideachais sa tír seo. Ní leor bliain amháin do chur is gcóimheas leis an mbliain roimpi chun an méadú mór sin d'fheiscint, ach má cuirtear 30,966 sa bhliain 1930 i gcoimheas le 50,179 sa bhliain 1952, chífear láithreach chomh mór is tá an méadú.

Tá mórán dá dhéanamh ag lucht ceannais na meán-scol le páirt-scoláireachtaí agus le hísliú táillí chun freastal ar an síor-mhéadú seo ar éileamh meán-oideachais. Déanann an Stát agus na Comhairlí Contae agus na Comhairlí Cathrach a gcion féin. Tairgeann an Stát 72 scoláireacht gach bliain do bhuachaillí, agus 40 scoláireacht do chailíní agus bronntar na scoláireachtaí sin de thoradh scrúdúcháin na meán-teistiméireachta. Seasníonn na scoláireachtaí seo ar feadh téarma dhá bhliain í meán-scoileanna aitheanta. Ina theannta sin, tugann an Stát 18 scoláireachtaí gach bliain de thoradh scrúdúcháin iontrála na gColáistí Ullmhúcháin. Gheibheann lucht buaite na scoláireachtaí seo oideachas saor ó chostas i meán-scoileanna maille le deontas le haghaidh fearaistí agus taistil. Ritheann téarma na scoláireachtaí seo cúig bhliana i scoileanna aitheanta de Cineál A. Tairgeann gach Comhairle Contae agus gach Comhairle Cathrach nach mór scoláireachtaí do mhicléinn ar mian leo cúrsaí léinn a leanúint i meán-scoileanna nó i gceardscoileanna. Sa bhliain 1951 tugadh 515 de na scoláireachtaí sin agus meán-scoileanna a thogh a bhfurmhór mór sin.

Sa bhliain 1950/51, bhí scoláireachtaí ó Chomhairlí Contae agus ó Chomhairlí Cathrach ag 1,813 dhuine de scoláirí meán-scoileanna. De bhreis air sin tairgtear gach bliain naoi gcinn déag de scoláireachtaí meán-scol faoi iomaíocht teoranta do réir rialacha bronntanais Erasmus Smith.

Sa scoil-bhliain 1950/51 glacadh el céad is a ceathair de scoileanna mar scoileanna de Chineal A, is é sin le rá gur i nGaeílge a tugadh teagasc na n-ábhar go léir ach amháin teagasc an Bhéarla agus na dTeangan Eorpach.

Ina theannta sin bhí 110 de scoileanna ina ndéantar cuid den teagasc i nGaeilge. Fágann sin 214 scoileanna as iomlán de 224 de scoileanna ina bhfuil Gaeilge ar barr nó ar an slí chun bheith mar sin. Bíonn toradh fónta fós le scéim na ndeontas speisialta a tugtar de bharr feabhais faoi leith i labhairt na Gaeilge.

Is chuige a cuireadh an scéim ar bun chun cabhrú le húsáid na Gaeilge mar ghná-theangain chaidrimh ag na daltaí lasmuich de sheomra na scoile agus chun cabhrú leo sa tslí sin chun an cruinneas agus an líofacht a ghnóthú a chuirfeadh ar a gcumas an Ghaeilge d'úsáid mar ghná-theangain labhartha tar éis éirí as an scoil dóibh. Seo mar oibrítear an scéim: tugtar deontaisí speisialta do scoileanna ina bhfuil caighdeán ard sroichte ag na daltaí i gcoitinne i labhaírt na Gaeilge. Tá cead ag gach scoil bheith páirteach sa scéim agus socraítear roinnt na ndeontas ar na limistéir cigireachta ar slí ná bíonn comórtas idir scoileanna a mbíonn difríocht so-fheicse eatarthu, maidir le caighdeán. Is amhlaidh a déantar suas liosta an aird feabhais go dtugtar na deontaísí dá réir: tógtar i ngach scoil atá páirteach sa scéim uimhir áirithe de dhaltaí a bheadh samphlach den scoil uile agus cuirtear faoi bhéil-triaileacha iad agus sna béil-triaileacha sin cuirtear suim faoi leith san méid a usáidtear an Ghaeilg lasmuich den seomra scoile. Nuair a cuirtear san áireamh a dheacara a bheadh sé scrúdú labhartha d'fheidhmiú do dhaltaí na meán-scol i gcoitinne meastar go dtugann an scéim seo toradh an-mhaith.

Is minic a castar leis an gcóras Meán-Oideachais seo againn-ne ná deantar cúram oiriúnach d'ábhair léinn atá fíor-chultúrach ar nós Ealaíon agus Ceol. Is fíor nach ábhair riachtanacha sa Chlár na hábhaír sin ach tugtar caoi oiriúnach do na scoileanna chun iad a chleachtadh agus leagtar amach cláir oiriúnacha sa dhá ábhar. An méid a saothraítear an Ceol pé scéal é sna scoileanna ní ceart é áireamh do réir an líon a thoghann an ceol mar ábhar ins na scrúduithe scríofa. Ina éagmais sin ar fad tairgeann an Roinn bónas le haghaídh cór agus ceolfhoireann agus déantar an bronnadh de thoradh scrúdúcháin a dhéanann painéal de cheoltóiri oilte ar son na Roinne.

Is é meán-uimhir na gCór a bhíonn páirteach gach bhliain le hocht mbliana anuas ná 195 de chóir agus 53 de cheolfhoirne. Sa scoil-bhliaín 1951/52, do chuir 230 de chóir agus 53 decheolfhoirne isteach ar na scrúduithe.

Do bhí an scéim idirréitigh agus eadrána i leith na meán-mhúinteoirí i bhfeidhm san bhliain atá caite agus an socrú a tháinig as an idirréiteach mí na Samhna seo a ghabh tharainn is mór mar a chuaigh sé chun tairbhe do na múinteoirí. Dála scéil na n-oidí bun-oideachais, ba mhór an sásamh aigne dhom an dea-mhéin agus an muintearas a taispeánadh ag díospóireachtaí na Comhairle Idirréitigh. Is beag an t-atharú a théann ar an obair ná ar an ngníomhacht coitianta a cleachtar sna meán-scoileanna maidir lena gcineál agus ní bítear ag braith ar athruithe réabhlóideacha ó bhliain go bliain. Níl gach aon duine sásta gur folláin ar fad an rud é an síorshodar seo i ndiaidh an mheánoideachais ná gurb é an cineál sin oideachais is fearr d'oirfeadh d'eacnamaíocht an náisiúin ach maidir le lucht ceannais agus teagaisc na meán-scol, níl amhras ar bith ná go bhfuilid ábalta agus éifeachtach.

VÓTA 42—CEARD-OIDEACHAIS.

Tá méadú de £69,950 ar an Vóta i gcóir Gairm-Oideachais. Ní hionadh méadú áirithe bliantúil í geás seirbhíse atá ag fás ar nós an Ghairm-Oideachais.

Tá 200 scoil Gairm-Oideachais ann anois, agus ina theannta sin b'éigin a lán dena scoileanna sna cathracha agus sna bailte móra a dhéanamh níos mó sna blíanta deireannacha seo. Sa bhliain atá caite, tugadh udarás chun ocht scoileanna nua a thógaint agus chun cur go mór le deich scoileanna eile. Cosnóidh sé sin £244,200. 85,573 sin é an líon mac léinn a bhí inrollaithe sna hilchineála ranganna a bhí ar siúl faoi Choistí Gairm-Oideachais san tseiseon 1950/51 i gcomparáid 85,948 sa tseiseon roimis sin, agus níor sáraíodh an t-iomlán sín riamh. D'fhás an uimhir a bhí inrollaithe sna cúrsaí lán-aimsire lae ó 17,885 go 9,230, agus sin uimhir nár sáraíodh fós.

Bé an t-iomlán a bhí inrollaithe ins na ranga tr thnóna agus sna ranga seiseanta ná 59,268 i gcomparáid le 61,082 sa bhliain 1949/50. I dtaobh 8,738 díobh sin micléinn do b'ea iad a bhí ag lorg teagaisc in ábhair áirithe a bhain lena gcearda nó le na slithe bheatha féin agus an chuid eile— 50,530 is amhlaidh a bhí suim acu sna hábhair éagsúla ar chúiseanna áirithe a bhain le cultúr, nó le teaghlachas, nó ar chúiseanna pearsanta eile.

Tá oiliúint na bprintíseach tagtha chun cínn go mór agus i roinnt mhaith ceard scaoiltear anois le hoibrithe óga ar feadh tréimhsí oiriúnacha gach seachtain nó ar feadh tréimhse iomlán de chúpla mí gach bliain dá bprintíseacht chun tinnreamh ar ranga lae i scoileanna Gairm-Oideachais. Sa tseiseon atá caite bé an líon printíseach do scaoileadh saor amhlaidh sin chun tinnreamh ar chúrsaí páirt-aimsire lae ná 2,027 agus diobh sin do bhain 1,211 le cathair Bhaile Átha Cliath.

Ní foláir d'urmhór na bprintíseach agus na n-oibrithe óga bheith ag brath fós ar ranga tráthnóna chun ceardoideachais foirmiúil d'fháil. Is trua sin mar an aigne a bhíonn tuirseach tar éis obair agus buaireamh an lae ní bhíonn sí ar bharr a maitheasa chun teagasc teicniceach a ghlacadh isteach agus ní hannamh tarrac na n-ilchineál caiteamh-aimsire a bhíonn le fáil go flúirseach sa tráthnóna ró-láidir don duine óg. Tá súil againn dá bhrí sin go dtiocfaidh de thuiscint chun tuilleadh fostóirí gur cheart agus gur chiallmhar an rud é printísigh agus oibrithe óga eile a scaoileadh saor ón obair cupla leath-lá sa tseachtain chun tinnreamh ar ranga lae osna Ceárd-Scoileanna.

Is mór tábhachtach mar chéim ar aghaidh é bunú na gcúrsaí ar eolaíocht sóisialta atá dá dtabhairt ag na trí. Coláistí den Ollscoil i dteannta na gCoisdí Gairm-Oideachais. I gCoreaigh a soláthraíodh na cúrsaí léinn seo ar dtúis i gcóir fostóirí, lucht na gceardchumann, agus oibrithe óga ach anois tá cead ag cách tinnreamh orthu. Níorbh fhada gur leathnaíodar amach ó Chorcaigh go cathracha eile ar fud na tíre agus ina dhiaidh sin go dtí na bailte beaga agus ceantracha tuaithe. Tá trí déag d'ionaid i gCúige Mumhan fé láthair, sé hionaid i gCúige Laighean agus tá cúrsa neamhspleách dá thabhairt ag Coláiste na hOllscoile i nGaillimh.

Dul ar aghaidh taithneamhach eile i gcúrsaí oideachais i gcoir na ndaoine fásta is ea bunú na rang cór-cheoil. Do cuireadh ar bun i gContae Chorcaighe sa tseiseon 1948/49 scéim na rang cór-cheoil agus do cheap an Coisde duine a bhí mar oide Gaeilge agus cór-cheoilina thimire speisialta i gcóir an chór-cheoil. Tá an scéim sin bunaithe go daingean anois agus ba mhór an bhail ar an oideachas a leithéid de scéim a bhunú i limisteírí na gCoistí eile.

Cúrsaí eile atá an-tábhachtach is ea na cúrsaí i gCeárdúlacht tuaithe a tugtar fé stiúradh na gCoisdí Gairm-Oideachais. Nuair a cuimhnítear ar an méid atá an meaisín ag gabháil ceannais ar an saol agus ar an méid atá leictrichiú na tuaithe ag dul ar aghaidh is fuirist a tuiscínt gur riachtanaí ná riamh ardchaighdeán ceardúlachta agus deaslámhachta. Tá ceaptha cúrsaí tuathghaibhneachta do chur ar siúl an samhradh seo sna bailte seo: Muimhneachán, Roscomáin agus an tInbhear Mór agus tá ceaptha cúrsaí ar fhoirgníocht tuaithe a chur ar siúl in ocht gcinn d'ionaid, is é sin Muileann Cearr, Acaill, Cill Rois, Cill Chathlaigh, Móin Chuinn, An Obair, Co. na Midhe, Baile na Míle, Co. Phortláirge agus Ospidéal, Co. Luimnigh. Do cheardaithe óga nó do phrintísigh sna cearda atá luaite na cúrsaí sin. Cuirfear scrúdú ar na mic léinn ag deireadh na gcúrsaí gaibhneachta agus tabharfar teastaisí de thoradh an scrúdúcháin sin. Sna cúrsaí foirgníochta déanfar teagasc ar na hoibriúcháin go léir a bhaineann le tógáil an bheagfhoirgnimh, cuir i gcás tógáil tí dhá úrlár. Mar sin tabharfar don cheardaí óg teagasc luachmhar nach fuirist a fháil sa tuaith.

Do tugadh cúrsaí ar fhoirgníocht feirme ina lán ionad ó am go ham chun a chur ar chumas na bhfeirmeoirí feidhm a bhaint as an deontas a thugann An Roinn Talmhaíochta i gcóir tithe, agus chun oiliúint speisialta a thabhairt dóibh ar obair choitianta deisiúcháin. An cúrsa ba mhó le rá dár tugadh an seiseon seo ghabh tharainn is ar an Ráithín i gCo. Chiarraighe a bhí sé. Is amhlaidh ba mhian le muintir na háite cóir slí do sholáthar chun ranga lámh-oibre a chur ar siúl do dhaoine fásta. Laistigh de dhá mhí bhí foirgneamh tógtha ina raibh seomra mór amháin i gcóir lámh-oibre agus seomra beag ranga. Faoi stiúradh dhá theagascóir lámh-oibre, duine acu a bhí na ard-mháistir, a deineadh an tógáil. Tá an foirgneamh ar fáil anois mar scoil Ghairm-Oideachais agus níor chosain sé ach £800 ar Choiste Gairm-Oideachais Chontae Chiarraighe.

Is mór an tógáil chroí dhúinn an iarracht áitiúil seo, agus tá súil agam go leanfaidh a lán áit eile sampla na Ráithíneach.

Tosnófar an Deireadh Fómhair seo chugainn ar chúrsa dhá bhliain chun fiche teagascóir obair adhmaid d'oiliúint. Tosnaíodh ar dhá chúrsa eile an Deireadh Fómhair seo caite, ceann le haghaidh sé dhuine dhéag de theagascóirí obair miotail, agus an ceann eile le haghaidh fiche teagascóir obair adhmaid. Críochnófar an dá chúrsa sin mí an Mheithimh na bliana seo chugainn. An Cúrsa i gcóir seacht nduine dhéag de theagascóirí tuaith-eolaíochta ar ar tosnaíodh an Deireadh Fómhair seo caite críochnófar é sin leis mí an Mheithimh na bliana seo chugainn. Tosnófar ar cúrsa eile arís an Meán Fómhair seo chugainn—is é sin cúrsa i gcóir chúig dhuine fichead de theagascóirí Ghacilge agus Abhar Leantach, agus críochnófar é ar an Meitheamh, 1953. Glacaim an chaoi seo chun mo bhuíochas a ghabháil le lucht ceannais na hOllscoile i gCorcaigh agus leis na Coisdí Gairm-Oideachais i gCathair Bhaile Átha Cliath agus i gCathair Chorcaighe de bharr an chúnaimh a thugadar don Roinn i dtaobh na gCúrsaí seo. Thugadar an cúnamh sin go fial, flaithiúil.

Ina theannta sin uile tionólfar, mí Iúil seo chugainn, cúrsaí gairide samhraidh ar modha múinte tuaith-eolaíochta agus Gaeilge faoi scéimeanna gairm-oideachais. Is chuige atá na cúrsaí seo dá gcur ar bun chun a chur ar chumas céimnithe ollscoíle agus fochéimnithe na teastaisí faoi leith a thugann an Roinn a ghnóthú san Tuaith-Eolaíocht agus sa Ghaeilge leith ar leith. Cáilíochtaí riachtanacha na teastaisí sin a bheith ag an té a dheineann teagasc na n-abhar sin i scoileanna gairm-oideachais.

Tionólfar cúrsa ar Tuath-Fhoirgníocht i mBéal Átha na Sluagh, Co. na Gaillimhe, chun teagascóirí Obair Adhmaid a toghfar d'oiliúint ar oibriúcháin éagsúla na Foirgníochta, ionas go mbeidh ar a gcumas sin arís cúrsaí ar Tuath-Fhoirgníocht a thabhairt do phríntísigh ina gcontaethe féin.

Tionólfar cúrsa i gCathair Chorcaighe ar láimhseáil meaisíní talmhaíochta chun teagascóirí an obair mhiotail d'oiliúint ar úsáid agus ar dheisiú na meaisíní sin ionas go mbeidh ar a gcumas mic léinn na scoileanna gairm-oideachais agus feirmeoirí a bhaineann le Macra na Feirme a chomhairliú agus a theagasc ar úsáid agus ar choimeád na meaisíní sin. Tionólfar cúrsa eile i gCathair Chorcaighe ar tuaith-eolaíocht agus is é a chuspóir sin ná eolas praicticeach a thabhairt do theagascóirí an ábhair sin ar an gClár nua tuaith-eolaíochta i gcóir cúrsaí gairm-oideachais lae .i. an Clár a cuireadh timpeall chun na gCoistí gairm-oideachais le déanaí.

Tá ar intinn ag Coistí gairm-oideachais dhá chúrsa athnuachainte i gcóir teagascóirí a thionóladh. Cúrsa ar Cheirdne Tí ceann díobh seo, agus is i gcóir teagascóirí tís é agus faoi stiúradh Coiste Ghairm-Oideachais Chathair Phortláirge a bheidh sé. Cúrsa CeardTeastais Gaeilge an ceann eile agus tionólfar é sin sa Cheathrú Rua faoi stiúradh Choíste Ghairm-Oideachais Cho. na Gaillimhe.

I dtaobh an Chúrsa ar tuaith-eolaíocht i gCorcaigh, ba mhaith liom tagairt faoi leith a dhéanamh do thriail nua a tosnaíodh an tEarrach so caite. Is é atá i gceist agam ná an scéim tionscaintí le haghaidh daoine óga a cuireadh ar bun le déanaí ag Móin Chuinn i gContae Chill Coinnigh. Do bhí comhdhála ag an Roinn le teagascóirí tuaith-eolaíochta de chuid na gCoistí gairm-oideachais agus de thoradh na díospóireachta a tharla do cheap an Roinn nár mhór an tuaith-eolaíocht a láimhseáil ar slí níos praicticiúla agus do bheartaigh scéim obair tionscnaimh do na mic léinn. Is é brí an scéil nár mhór do na mic léinn obaír speisialta praicticeach éigin a dhéanamh sa bhaile, cuir i gcás, gamhain nó banbh a chothú, coirceog bheach a choimeád, éanlaithe tí a thógaint, bog-thoraí nó blátha nó eile a chur ag fás.

Do tharla go raibh Macra na Feirme timpeall an ama chéanna ag cuimhneamh ar conas fhéadfaidís suim a mhúscailt ag a ndritháireacha agus a ndriféaracha óga sa bhFeirmeoireacht agus i saol na tuaithe. Tharla go raibh ceaptha acu cumainn sóisear a chur ar bun. Do thuig Macra na Feirme ná féadfaidís beartú fónta a dhéanamh mura bhfaghaidís cúnamh a n-eolais agus a dtaithí óna teagascóirí tuaith-eolaíochta atá ag obair faoi na coisdí gairm-oideachais, agus d'iarr an Mhacra orm cabhair na Roinne a sholáthar dóibh. Tar éis diospóireacht an-cháirdiúil, ba léir go raibh an Macra agus an Roinn ar aon-aigne go bhféadfadh an scéim seo an-mhaitheas a dhéanamh, agus do socraíodh triail a bhaint aisti i ndosaen ionad nó mar sin i mbliana. Tá na triaileacha faoi stiúradh na dteagascóirí tuaith-eolaíochta sna háiteanna éagsúla, ach toisc gur sa bhaile a déantar iad ní foláir comhoibriú na dtuistí a bheith le fáil. Do gheall Macra na Feirme go ndéanfaidís gach dícheall sna cumainn áitiúla ar an gcomhoibriú sin do chur ar fáil agus do ghabhadar mar dhualgas orthu féin gach ullmhú a dhéanamh sna hionaíd ina mbeadh scéim na mbeart tionscnaimh le cur ar bun.

Glactar go forleathan anois, mar fhianaise cáilíochta i gcóir cinéala áirithe fostaíochta, leis na Teastais do Ghairm-chúrsaí Lae, go mór-mhór iad so a bhaineann le lámh-obair agus le tráchtáil.

I dtaobh na mac léinn a dhein freastal ar na cúrsaí leantacha lán-aimsire lae agus a chuaigh faoi scrúdú teastaisí, bhí méadú ar líon na n-iarrathóirí ó 2,954 sa bhliain 1950 go 3,243 sa bhliain 1951 agus d'éirigh céadchodán na bpás ó 61 go 66.

Bíonn scéim scrudúcháin in ábhair single le haghaidh mic léinn na ranganna tráthnóna ar siúl faoi stiúradh na Roinne gach bliain. Ceaptar cuid de na scrúduithe seo ar shlí go n-oirfidís go speisialta do riachtanaisí na macléinn a bhíonn ag iarraidh cáilíochtaí teicniciúla sna ranga ceárd agus teicníochta idir ranga lae agus ranga tráthnóna. Sna scrúduithe sin déantar triaileacha béil, triaileacha praicticiúla agus triaileacha scríofa d'oirfeadh do chaighdeáin éagsúla na mac léinn. 20,575 a chuaigh faoi na scrúduithe sin anuraidh, is é sin timpeall an líon céanna is chuaigh an bhliain roimis sin.

VÓTA 43—EOLAÍOCHT AGUS EALAÍON.

Tugtar faoi ndeara go bhfuil méadaithe ina lán de na fó-mhírchinn a thagann faoi'n vóta seo. Baineann a bhfurmhór le gníomhachtaí náisiúnta agus cultúrtha. An £3,500 a soláthraítí go dtí seo chun leabhair, láimhscríbhinní agus aroile a cheannach don Leabharlainn Náisiúnta ní leór é. B'éigin, sa bhliain 1951/52 meastachán breise de £1,250 a thabhairt isteach chun a chur ar chumas na leabharlainne a lom-riachtanais a shású agus dá bhrí sin, tá £1,000 eile dá thabhairt mbliana.

Tá £1,000 dá chur leis an £5,000 a ceadaíodh cheana chun análacha de chuid na hÉireann atá i dtíortha iasachta do bhreithniú agus cóipeanna a dhéanamh díobh. Tá breithniú iomlán déanta ag an Leabharlainn Náisiúnta ar a bhfuil de na hanálacha seo cláraithe i Leabharlanna iasachta, agus le cabhair an deontais bhliantúil faoin vóta seo, is ró-dhócha go mbeidh cóipeanna de na hanálacha atá i gceist le fáil san Leabharlainn Náisiúnta ar ball.

Tá an soláthar don Chomhar Dramaíochta árdaithe ó £2,500 go dtí £3,100. Is é cúis is mó atá leis an méadú so ná an t-aistriú ó Amharclann na Mainistreach go hAmharclainn na Banríona.

Tá an deontas do Chumann Drámaíochta na Scol dhá ardú ó £340 go £590 chun go bhféadfar an obair thábhachtach atá dá dhéanamh aige a leathnú amach.

D'éirigh chomh maith sin anuraidh leis an Scéim deontais do chumainn drámaíochta sa Ghaeltacht gur beartaíodh £250 d'iarraidh mar mhéadú ar an £500 a tugadh anuraidh.

Tá ar intinn agam £3,000 a chur leis an £6,000 a soláthraíodh cheana le haghaidh Chomhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge. D'fhéadfadh an chuallacht seo obair ana-thábhachtach agus anríachtanach a dhéanamh le comhcheangal agus comhordú a dhéanamh ar ghníomhachtaí na gcuallachtaí éagsúla atá ag obair ar son na teangan. Agus é seo go speisialta, gurab í an Chomhdháil is mó faoi ndeara an fás mór atá tagtha ar cheannach na leabhar Gaeilge ar fud na tíre. Tá ar intinn ag an gComhdháil raint oiriúnach den mhéadú deontais a chur le leathnú na h-oibre sin.

Tá ar aigne agam an chioníocaíocht leis an Oireachtas d'ardú go £1,250. Is mór é tábhacht na féile seo. Samhlaíonn sé dhúinn an dul ar aghaidh atá déanta i dtaobh na Gaeilge agus an caighdeán atá bainte amach go coitianta, ach ina theannta sin tugann sé le chéile furmhór na ndaoine atá gníomhach in aithbheochaint na Gaeilge ionas go mbíonn ar a gcumas a smaointe, a dtuairmí agus a dtaithí do chur i gcóimheas in atmosphiar taithneamhach.

Tá an chioníocaíocht i gcomhair na dtréimhseachán Gaeilge dá árdú ó £9,600 go £10,360—sin árdú de £760. An t-árdú atá tagtha ar chostaisí cló agus páipéir faoi ndeara sin.

Iarrtar árdú de £500 i gcóir Institiúid Náisiúnta na Scannán. Is é cuspóir choitianta an deontais a tugtar don chuallacht seo ná a chur ar a gcumas leabharlann de scannáin oiriúnacha oideachais a chur le chéile agus chun na scannáin Ghaeilge a chur dá n-úsáid níos coitianta. Anuraidh do chuir an Institiúd leagan cainte Gaeilge le sé cinn de scannáin oideachais, agus táthar ag beartú chun dul ar aghaidh i mbliana le húsáid scannán agus stiallscannán sna scoileanna.

Táthar chun £1,000 sa bhreis do thabhairt don Choiste um StairEaladhna. Is é tuairim an Choiste go bhfoillseofar i mbliana an staidéar a tosnaíodh sa bhliain 1947 ar an nGorta Mhór.

Níor tugadh aon deontas faoin mír-cheann deontaisí do Choláistí Gaeilge sa Ghaeltacht sa bhliain 1951/52 ná in aon bhliain roimhe sin, ach cuíreadh £12,000 ar fáil do Chomhaltas Uladh i meastachán breise sa bhliaín 1951/52. Níor híocadh aon airgead leis an gComhaltas, toisc ná raibh an Dintiúir Iontaobhais ullamh acu.

Is é méid atá dá chur ar fáil faoin mírcheann seo i meastacháin na bliana 1952/53 ná £7,500.

Ceann de na coiníollacha ar a n-íocfar na deontaisí seo is ea go ndéanfaidh sealbhóirí nó iontaobhuithe na gcoláistí connradh trí Dhintiúr Iontaobhais gur mar mhaithe le forbairt na Gaeilge amháin a úsáidfear na tithe, agus má bristear téarmaí na Dintiúire go mbeidh suim an deontais mar fhiacha ar an tseilbh i bhfoirm morgáiste.

Tá £100 dá chur ar fáil le haghaidh mion-chostaisí a bhaineann le taispeántaisí de phictiúirí a dhein daltaí anseo is annsiud ar fud na tíre. Taispeánfar Líníocht agus Deannaireacht a chuireann na daltaí isteach ar chomortaisí trí Radio Éireann. Bíonn samplaí breagha d'obair ealaíonta na bpáistí sna taispeántaisí seo, agus meastar gur chóir go bhfeicfeadh an pobal iad, go speisialta, páistí, tuistí agus múinteoirí. Is é Radio Éireann agus an té a chuir tús leis an gcomórtas a dhéanfaidh socrú chun na taispeántaisí do chur ar bun agus díolfaidh an Roinn Oideachais na costaisí as an deontas seo.

VÓTA 44—SCOILEANNA CEARTÚCHÁIN AGUS SCOILEANNA SAOTHAIR.

£236,700 an méid airgid a meastar don bhliain seo nó £50,490 níos mó ná an méid glan a tugadh le haghaidh na bliana atá caite, 1951/52. Taobh amuigh den £200 sa bhreis a caithfear ar thuarastail, is é rud is cúis don mhéadú ar an meastachán ná méadú ar na Deontaisí Caipitíochta. Ar an gcéad lá d'Eanáir sa bhliain 1951, méadaíodh Deontaisí Caipitíochta ón Stát le haghaidh cothú cionntóirí óga agus daltaí ar a gcoimeád i Scoileanna Ceartúcháin agus i Scoileanna Saothair: méadaíodh na deontaisí ó 12/-go dtí 14/6d. sa tseachtain i gcás na Scoileanna Ceartúcháin agus ó 9/6d. go dtí 12/- i gcás na Scoileanna Saothair. Cuíreadh 3/- sa tseachtain leis na deontaisí sin ar an gcéad lá d'Eanáir i mbliana. Siad na rátaí íocaíochta ón Stát atá i bhfeidhm anois na 17/6d. sa tseachtain do na Scoileanna Ceartúcháin agus 15/- do na Scoileanna Saothair. Méadaíodh cioníocaíocht na nUdarás Aitiúla do réir na méaduithe sin.

Is é méid airgid a hiarrtar le haghaidh na Scoileanna Ceartúcháin i mbliana ná £11,700 nó £1,850 níos mó ná mar hiarradh anuraidh. Is é méid an mheastacháin le haghaidh cothú sna Scoileanna Saothair ná £230,410 nó £42,510 níos mó ná meastachán na bliana seo caite.

Tá tuilleadh slí dá chur ar fáil san Scoil Ceartúcháin sa Daingean, is é sin le rá, dhá sciathán nua ina mbeidh seomraí ranga, seomraí codlata, seomraí glantacháin, agus ceardlanna. Críochnaíodh sciathán amháin san Samhradh sa bhliain 1949 agus is dóigh go mbeidh an dara sciathán réidh roimh deireadh na féil-bhliana seo.

Bíonn deichniúr ar an meán-mhéid ar a gcoimeád san Scoil Ceartúcháin i gCill mo Choda, ach níorbh fhéidir costaisí reatha do ghlanadh dá mbunuítí deontaisí an Stáit ar an líon atá dá gcoimeád ann uair áirithe. Dá bhrí sin, tugtar íocaíocht do bhainisteoirí na scoile sin le haghaidh ceathracha, gidh ná fuil san uimhir sin ach buille faoi thuairim.

Ar an 31 ú lá de Mhí na Nollag 1952, bhí 227 páistí sna Scoileanna Ceartúcháin, agus 6,195 sna Scoileanna Saothair. I gcoitinne, taispeánann na huímhreacha sin laghdú beag i gcoimheas le na huimhreacha ar an dáta céanna sa bhliain 1950. Is é Teach Maol Bhríde, Glas Naoidhean, an t-aon áit choimeádta amháin atá faoi chumhacht mo Roinnese. Tá slí ann do 50 buachaill. Aon duine dhéag sa ló an meánlíon a bhí ann sa bhliain darbh chríoch an 28ú Mí Feabhra, 1952 agus 28 an líon ba mhó a bhí ann lá ar bith. Ordaítear buachaillí isteach ann ar feadh tréimhsí nach faide ná mí nó cuirtear ann iad go sealadach go dtí go dtugtar breith na Cúirte orthu. Glacann cuid de na Scoileanna Saothair le daoine óga a hordaítear isteach mar sin nó a coimeádtar go sealadach go dtrialtar iad agus dá bhárr san bíonn a thuilleadh slí le fáil do chásanna den tsaghas san.

Tá an scéim faoi shaoire sa bhaile do thabhairt do dhaltaí na Scoileanna Saothair dá oibriú go sásúil. Tugadh saoire sa bhaile do thimpeall is 2,300 dalta sa bhliain 1951. Creideann mo Roinnse go ligeann na bainisteoirí dahaí abhaile ar saoire i gcónaí nuair is féidir é sin do dhéanamh gan díobháil a dhéanamh do na daltaí féin. Aon lá déag is fiche an tréimhse saoire is faide a tugtar. Nuair nach féidir nó nach cuí daltaí a ligean taobh amuigh den scoil ligtear ar shealga nó ar thurasanna iad. Soláthraíonn líon beag de na scoileanna campaí cois fairrge do na daltaí nach féidir a ligean abhaile ar saoire.

VÓTA 45—INSTITIÚD ÁRD-LÉINN BAILE ÁTHA CLIATH.

Tá £6,700 de mhéadú ar an meastachán don Vóta seo. Is éard faoi ndear an méadú sin ná méadú ar thuarastail na Foirne Acadúla agus na Foirne Feidhmiucháin, tuarastal don triú hollamh sinsearach i Scoil na Fisice Teoraicí, agus costas Miocrofotoméadair Pláta le haghaidh na Réadlainne nDún Sionca.

Ghabh Scoil an Léinn Cheiltigh uirthi féin atlas de chanúintí na Gaeilge do dhéanamh agus tá an obair sin ag dul chun cinn go rialta. Tá an chuardach déanta cheana féin ins an gcuid is mó de na ceanntair inarbh éigin é dhéan, amh gan mhoill i dtreo gur féidir a rá go bhfuil an chuid is cruaidhe den obair déanta.

Rinne ionadaí de chuid na Fisice Cosmaí cúrsa faire i mBloomfontein leis an gciandarcán Armagh-Dunsink-Harvard, agus cuireadh toscaireacht go Khartoum le faireadh ar an urú gréine i mí Feabhra i mbliana.

Leanadh den taighde ar ilchineál ábhar i Scoil na Fisice Teoiricí.

VÓTA 46—AN GAILEIRÍ NÁISIÚNTA.

Tá £250 dá chur le meastachán an Ghaileirí Náisiúnta (mírcheann D) le haghaidh léachta poiblí i dtaoibh na bpictiúirí sa Ghaileirí. Táthar ag súil go dtabharfar dhá léacht sa tseachtain ar na pictiúirí, ceann ar an nDomhnach agus ceann ar lá eile den tseachtain: uair amháin sa mhí tabharfar léacht an Domhnaigh i nGaeilge. In éincacht leis sin b'fhéidir go bhféadfaí léachta sa bhreis do sholáthar dá mbeadh scoileanna nó lucht oideachais eile ghá n-éileamh, nó léachtaí ón iasacht d'fhostú corr-uair nuair bheadh duine den tsaghas san i mBaile Átha Cliath ar cuaird. Tuigfear, áfach, ná fuil ins an socrú seo ach triail gur féidir a athrú am ar bith más gá sin do réir mar innseoidh an taithí dúinn é.

Tá £1,250 i Mír-cheann D de Vóta 46 chun cóipeanna daite de mhéid cárta poist do dhéanamh de chuid de na pictiúirí is mó tábhacht sa Ghaileirí le húsáid i gcúrsaí oideachaís. Táthar ag súil gur féidir fiche cóip do dhéanamh sa bhliain airgeadais seo.

Sin agaibh anois cuntas, cuntas gur gá do bheith gairid, ar obair mo Roinnse sa bhliain seo chuaigh thart. Ní raibh aon rud íontach agam le haíthris agus measaim nár b'fhearr riamh é. Is fada ó bhí an córas oideachais seo againnne dá thástáil ar triail: do mhúnlaigh an aimsear, agus an taithí agus riachtanaisí an phobuil é gur dheineadar córas de ná tagann ach mion-phointí d'athrú air ó bhliain go bliain. Tá cuid mhaith de thréithe an chórais oideachais gur chóir dúinn bheith buíoch mar gheall orthu, agus ní hé tréith is lú tábhacht díobh sin an tslí a dtagann an Eaglais agus an Stát le chéile. Áirím an tréith sin ar na buadha is mó dá bhfuil againn. Bíodh is go bhfuil lochta beaga air annseo is ansiúd, fé mar bhíonn ar rudaí a cheapann an cine daonna, téim i dtreise a ráite go bhfuil an córas oideachais seo againne inchurtha ina iomlán le córas oideachais tíre ar bith eile gur féidir dúinn an dá chóras do chur i gcómheas le chéile.

I would like, first of all, to congratulate the Minister on the fluent manner in which he read his speech but, being a native Irish speaker from Donegal and having beside me a native Irish speaker from Kerry, I regret to say I understood but one-fourth of what the Minister said— not through any inability on his part but merely because of the manner in which the speech was prepared.

We have here three distinct dialects: we have Gaeilge Chúige Mumhan, Gaeilge Chúige Connacht, and Gaeilge Chúige Uladh. I am very, very sorry to say that the Minister's speech was read in none of these dialects. I do not blame the Minister and I will be pardoned for replying in Bearla Sacsa. Let us get down to the facts. After approximately 30 years of freedom in the Twenty-Six Counties is it not a tragedy that, during a ministerial speech in the native language, this House should be almost denuded of members? We have not even got a quorum, but I am not drawing the attention of the Chair to that now. Why is there such a paucity of attendance? It is because we are fundamentally wrong in our teaching of the language.

The day we departed from the modh direach and the day we departed from the method of teaching our people to speak Irish—never mind the writing of Irish or the reading of Irish—Irish was finished in this country. When we come back to the methods introduced by the late Father Toal in Belfast, and when we compare them with the methods introduced to-day, does not our effort to revive the language seem a mockery to all of us? We have our children swotting and slogging in their efforts to read Irish and write Irish. In the days of the Gaelic League, and prior to the Treaty when we wanted our people to speak Irish, they were the days when we were getting somewhere in the revival of our language as the spoken tongue.

Coming down to the present day, we have, in the Gaeltacht of Donegal, Connemara, Kerry and Waterford, the deontas inspectors coming along and interrogating the children to discover whether or not they are entitled to the £5 deontas. These inspectors are sent up to us and down to us and west to us, these gentlemen who have learned what I describe as "Gaeilge Oifigiúl". Is it not time we took stock? I may be hard, though I do not wish to be, on very efficient inspectors. Indeed, I do not blame them. I blame the system that inflicts them on us. It is time we revised the system. Let us not cod ourselves any longer.

The Gaeltacht is dwindling. It is dwindling for many reasons, but one of the principal reasons is that the language in which we heard the Minister read his speech to-night is not the language of the Gaeltacht. Again, I do not blame the Minister. I know the present Minister, and I know that he is most sincere in all that he does. If we want to preserve the Gaeltacht, let us send to the Gaeltacht cigirí— inspectors—from the Gaeltacht to examine the children in the Gaeltacht. Then we shall get somewhere. Perhaps I have said more than I should on this embarrassing subject. Believe me, I have no desire to criticise the present Minister or the present Government in particular. I am criticising our native Governments for the past 30 years.

Let us now take stock. How far have we advanced? We have not advanced; we are going back. If we want to learn a lesson, we must go up to the Nationalists in the Six Counties. There is more Irish spoken in Belfast than there is in the City of Dublin. Irish is spoken there as the vernacular. Perhaps I have said enough.

The Minister struck a sound note when he said that we have done very well inside the schools, so far as the teachers are concerned, but we are not going far enough outside the schools. We should concentrate on our school buildings. I know that the Minister has his heart and soul in school buildings, and we are all behind him in his efforts to improve them. We must improve our schools. Some of them are quite primitive.

As I said on another occasion—mark my words—university education is the curse of this country. If we concentrate more on vocational education, we will go a long way towards improving the country. Unfortunately, our primary schools are merely stepping stones to the university. If we could make our primary schools stepping stones to vocational training, we would be doing a great deal to improve the country. Remember, it was from vocational education that the present machine age developed. To-day our fisheries are denuded. Why? Because we have no net-makers. We have no marine mechanics, and we have no navigation experts. Why? Because there is one thing we are concentrating on in our primary schools, and that is, push into the secondary schools and push into the universities. It would be worth while considering how many deep-sea navigation officers we have in the country, and how many deep-sea first class engineers we have at the moment. Contrast their number with the number of undergraduates we have studying in the various faculties in the universities. Is it any wonder that the country is denuded of fishermen and of navigational experts, and of various other arts and trades in which we should have experts? I agree, as I said at the outset, with the Vote and with everything which has been said of it by the Minister, particularly the things that I did not understand.

I do not intend to detain the House but I do know that if we want to get down to facts then let us not delude ourselves or cod ourselves by having the Minister for Education coming in here and reading a speech. Mind you, I am not criticising the Minister for reading it. I did not hear the Minister's prompt——

It was not a prompt. It was a question that I asked.

I am awfully sorry and I apologise to the Minister. I do not wish to criticise the Minister's speech and I do not even want to criticise the people who prepared it. I criticise the system which enables people to prepare the speech which the Minister read to-night.

First of all I should like to follow in the footsteps of my colleague, Deputy O'Donnell, by congratulating the Minister on his very clear and full statement, which covered the whole educational field. I regret very much that, in the unavoidable absence of the ex-Minister for Education, Deputy Mulcahy, it is incumbent on us to follow the Minister in the order in which we are doing.

In dealing with education we might regard the schools as factories. They are really the most important factories in any country, because it is fully recognised that the progress of a nation depends on the education of its people. When we deal with the school we must take that into consideration and regard it as a sort of factory—a cultural or a mental factory if you like—and we must also think of the raw material of that factory, which is the child; also the worker—the teacher, the overseer—the inspector and, of course, the real factory itself —the school. If all these together are fully catered for in the best manner possible we should expect that when the child has passed through the primary school he is in a sense not fully moulded until he goes through another process in the secondary or the vocational school and, if possible, in the university.

My colleague has stated that the universities are a curse. Well, to a certain extent, perhaps, because in this country at the present time we have numbers of people who have the leaving certificate, the matriculation certificate, university degrees, and so forth. I agree that they are not able to take their place in helping the progress of the nation because we cannot find suitable positions for all these people. I think that what Deputy O'Donnell has suggested is correct, namely, that when children leave the primary school we should concentrate more on trying to get them a vocational education and a secondary education, if possible.

Now, I shall take the child. The home, first of all, is the real moulder of the character of the child. On the type of parents will depend that moulding with, of course, the surroundings of the home and so forth. Then at the very young age the child goes, full of hope and perhaps of fear, to school. The work of the home will be supplemented in the school by the teacher. In that way a great responsibility falls on the teacher. On him, or on her, will depend the future of those children. First of all, if we have teachers capable of carrying out their work efficiently and if they are devoted entirely to the welfare of the child, they must be so trained and so paid— all other conditions being favourable— as to enable them to carry out their work at the highest efficiency.

The present system of training of teachers is not, to my mind, the correct one, because when they enter the preparatory colleges they are, I believe, segregated for four years, more or less, from the outer world, and for two further years they are confined in a training college. I think it would be much better if a system were brought into operation by which the teachers of the children of the nation would be able to mix more with other people and so get to know better the ways of the world and the movements of society. The course in the preparatory colleges, or some equivalent course, could be such as to enable them to get the leaving certificate and entitle them to enter the training college or to get the matriculation certificate to entitle them to go to the university. These certificates could be obtained either in the secondary schools or in the preparatory colleges. When the time came for them to enter the training college, I think that, instead of segregating them for a two further years—they would then have reached the age of 17 or 18 years—they should enter the university in the ordinary way for the purpose of taking their degrees, whether the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Commerce, or the degree of Bachelor of Science. My idea would be that, if then they expressed a desire to become teachers, they would enter the training college. They would do that, not exactly for the purpose of getting any further education, but rather to gain a greater experience of teaching methods. To gain that experience, they should have the opportunity of teaching in local national, convent or other schools.

The two years in a university would give them the opportunity of mixing with people who would be preparing for various other occupations. That would broaden their minds and give them a bigger idea of life in general. Having completed their training course, they would be fully and well equipped to carry on their duties in the schools. Having the extra qualifications, they would be well entitled to claim decent salaries commensurate with the important duties that they will be called on to discharge. Certainly, if teachers are to do their work efficiently they must be free from financial worries. Therefore, it is incumbent on the State to pay them a salary that will enable them to carry out their work as it should be done.

Down through the years the worst paid servants of the State have been the teachers. Under the English Government the pay was miserable in the extreme. Our Irish Governments did not make a good beginning. I had better not refer to that because I would have to blame all the different Parties in the House. However, advances have been made as regards salary and conditions of service in various ways. While I do not wish to compliment any member on this side of the House, teachers will agree and Deputies will agree that the previous Minister for Education, Deputy General Mulcahy, brought about a great improvement in the conditions of teachers. One great thing was the setting up of the Conciliation Arbitration Board which should for all future time prevent a recurrence of what happened in 1946.

Let us hope that through that Conciliation Arbitration Board, in the very near future, the teachers will get an opportunity of further increasing their salaries to keep in line with the increased cost of living, and to give them once and for all a salary that will satisfy them to such an extent that they can devote all their attention to the work of the schools.

In connection with salaries, I must also refer to the fact that teachers, like all others, must look to the time when they have to retire from their duties. Then, of course, they will expect that generous provision will be made for pensions. The pensions will depend on the retiring salary. We know that in years gone by teachers' salaries were miserably small, and that there are some retired teachers living on something like £30 a year. It is a sad commentary on a country that was supposed to be so fond of education that teachers, people who were interested in advancing the education and culture of the children of this country, should be in that financial state.

I was really disappointed that in the Minister's statement there was no reference to the claim of pensioned teachers who retired prior to 1st January, 1950, and who are still asking that the gratuity that is paid to their brethren who retired at that period should be granted to them. It has been granted to their fellow-teachers in Northern Ireland. I should like to remind the House of the fact that the Irish National Teachers' Organisation is perhaps the one body in this country that has never recognised Partition. Teachers north and south are members of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation. We are all fighting for the same ends. When pensioned teachers in the south are refused that gratuity which has been given to their brethren in the north, they certainly have cause to feel very displeased with the Government of the Republic of Ireland. It is a pity that a question like that should arise, which really affects Partition and causes, in various ways, a kind of partition—a partition of pensioned teachers. There are so many partitions in the teaching profession as regards salaries, emoluments, and so on, that it is rather peculiar. I do not know whether it is the Department of Education or the Department of Finance that is responsible. Different types of teachers have grievances as regards salary and pensions.

The pensioned teachers who are being denied the gratuity did their duties well under difficult conditions. It is a pity that these grand old teachers should be denied what they feel is their just right. We had hopes, and still have hopes—because the Minister has not yet said that it would not be granted to them—that provision will be made for them in the very near future, that it will be made now, so as to satisfy the claims of those teachers. If the minister does nothing else during his period of office, however short or long it may be, but grant the gratuities to the pre-1950 teachers, he will earn the gratitude, not only of those pensioned teachers but of all serving teachers.

That is so much about the teachers. Now we will come to the schools. The condition of the schools has been a very sore point, not only with teachers, but with managers, Ministers, the Department of Education as a whole and, of course, with the parents. There are such types of schools in this country that I am surprised, and any person would be surprised, that parents send their children there at all. It is difficult for the children but it is even more difficult for the teachers to carry on their work in such buildings.

I know that great strides have been made in the building of schools, but there are still hundreds of schools in such a condition that they are not fit to house cattle. These are schools with leaking roofs, broken windows, damp walls, holes in the floors full of rats and mice, and with no sanitary facilities whatever, or, where there are sanitary facilities, they are of the most primitive nature. Some beautiful schools have been built, but there is the difficulty with regard to the local contribution of 33? per cent. and we can never advance with a scheme of school-building until some change is made in that respect. The Minister did intimate at the Teachers' Congress in Tramore or somewhere else that he was examining the matter to see what could be done, and, while I would not be entirely opposed to a local contribution, I maintain that local conditions must always be taken into account. There are areas where there should be no difficulty in getting the local contribution and there are others where it would be impossible to get such a contribution. However, I admit that, in such cases, the Minister and his Department have always agreed to accept less than the 33? per cent., and, in fact, I believe the average local contribution is something like 17 or 18 per cent. It is only right that, where at all possible, a local contribution should be demanded, because parents must realise that, in a Christian democratic country, they should be responsible to a certain extent for the education of their children and should make the contribution demanded of them so that their children will be educated in decent conditions. While this difficulty remains with regard to the local contribution, I am afraid we can never make the advance we should like to make in the building of schools in the poorer areas.

The remote Gaeltacht and FiorGhaeltacht areas deserve special attention, and special consideration should be given to them in connection with school buildings. They should have decent schools but not elaborate schools, and in fact I have often thought that some of the schools we have built are too elaborate and too costly, because after the lapse of 40 or 50 years they will be more or less out of date and obsolete. If we provide good, well-built schools with sufficient accommodation for the children, with proper sanitary arrangements, with drinking water supplied and with a decent playground attached to the school or in the immediate vicinity where the children can take part in all kinds of games, we will have done very well for the children, the parents and the teachers.

The maintenance, heating and cleaning of schools devolves on the manager, but managers have no funds except the heating and cleaning grant, by which they can maintain schools in a proper condition and have them properly heated and cleaned. It is not the wish of teachers or of the teachers' organisation, of parents or of anybody else that the managerial system should be changed, but the system in regard to the maintenance, the heating and the cleaning of schools should be changed. When schools are built they are vested in trustees and repairs are carried out by the Board of Works for a certain number of years. I do not know what the view of managers or of the Hierarchy would be on this matter but I think that the schools should then be re-vested and their maintenance continued by the Board of Works.

Some provision is made by which somebody is employed to set fires and to clean a school but the amount given is not sufficient and nobody, in the country areas at any rate, would undertake the work, and so the children still have to do it. It is entirely wrong in this progressive age, and it was wrong at all times, that the children should be obliged to brush, wash and dust the schools, set fires, and so on, and that the teachers should be responsible for the carrying out of that work. I believe that the heating and cleaning of schools should be the duty of the local authority.

It is the local authority who should be responsible, and, in order to carry out the work, they should strike a certain rate for the purpose. That would, in a sense, make the parents responsible, or at least would make the local people responsible for the heating and cleaning of schools and until some such steps are taken, we shall always see children coming to school on cold mornings with a sod or two of turf under their arms and setting fires, brushing the school and so on.

All that should be done away with. We have not got that system in the secondary or vocational schools and why should we have it in the primary schools, which are really the most important, because it is there that the moulding of the characters of the children and their education begin? I think it is about time that representatives of the teachers' organisation, of the managers and of the Department came together in conference and hammered out some scheme by which the old primitive method of heating and cleaning schools would be abolished.

I have spoken of the child, of the teacher and of the school and I come now to the inspector. I do not think I have very much to say in that connection, because, while it was a very serious problem some years ago, the whole system of inspection has been so changed that there are now very few grievances in connection with it. I believe that our native Ministers and the officials of the Department and the higher inspectors, perhaps, came to realise that the inspector's work should principally deal with inspection, with making suggestions to the teachers and in consultation with him or her; and that he should no longer come into the school as a sort of detective to find fault only and to say nothing good of the work of the teacher. If the Minister and the Department will see that that is done and that inspectors do their duties as gentlemen, it will certainly help to bring about a continuance of the good relations that now exist on the whole between teachers and inspectors.

I suppose that in all walks of life you will find a black sheep. We will have black sheep in the teaching profession and in the inspectorial field— and, of course, in the Department of Education, although they would not admit that. We have made wonderful strides, on the whole. By the way, when I refer to the officials, I have nothing to say of them but what is good. They have often been called bureaucrats and so forth, but I suppose they are working to a certain system. On the whole, I have always found them very courteous, helpful and sensible men and women. I never found them anxious to injure a teacher or anybody else. They always dealt with cases in a sensible way. I just make that remark in passing, as I did refer to them. We must have good officials and a good Minister — we have not been so bad in that way, too, and even the present Minister is regarded as being honest and sincere and anxious to do his best and I am sure he does it and will do it.

In regard to the primary school programme, there are various types of so-called educationists who think that all kinds of subjects should be taught in a primary school. I can assure the Minister and the House that teachers have great difficulty in trying to get through the subjects at present in the programme. If the children are taught how to read well, how to write, arithmetic and perhaps a general knowledge of Irish history and Irish geography and perhaps a general knowledge of the geography of Europe and the world, and of course the best possible knowledge of spoken and written Irish, that is all that should be required in a primary school. Singing and needlework will always be taught in an elementary way. There is no use in talking about introducing agriculture or rural science or nature study. All educational cranks interested in any one subject or two think they should be taught in the primary school. There should be no provision made for them, because children of that age are not able to imbibe the knowledge, or at least there is no opportunity or time available by which they could gain even a rudimentary knowledge of such extra subjects.

I must now refer to a matter in which a number of lady teachers are interested. When speaking about it last year, I remember asking the Minister, if he could not give a decision himself, to submit the matter to the Council of Education, if possible. I speak of the marriage ban. The Minister has said he will set up a new training college this year—I do not know whether it is for men or women. We have numbers of lady teachers, fully trained, who had to retire on marriage. I can never make out who was responsible first of all for introducing that rule. The Minister states there is no marriage ban. Of course, there is not; a lady teacher can get married but when she does so she must cease to be a teacher in a school, if she was trained since 1934. I believe that has a very bad effect on education. A lady teacher is trained under heavy expense, not only to her parents but also to the State. If she thinks or can foresee that teaching will be her profession for the next 40 years, she certainly will be anxious to equip herself for the work and she will do everything possible to carry out her duties efficiently. But when she feels that if she gets married she must relinquish her post, there is certainly no inducement to her to do her work as carefully as she would do it if she knew that she would be continued as a teacher. And so the child will suffer. After all, a married woman—a mother, with children herself, perhaps—can understand children better than an unmarried girl. The Minister should look into the matter again and consult whatever authority was responsible at first for the introduction of the rule, to see if anything could be done to abolish it.

A mistake was made in building vocational schools in cities and towns; they should really belong to rural areas. It was a mistake to build a school in Cathal Brugha Street; it should have been built out in the country surrounded by the beauties of nature. Having regard to the subjects taught in these schools such as rural science and domestic economy some ground should be attached to the school where the children could get a good knowledge of practical agriculture and where the vegetables for the cookery classes might be grown. After all we must admit that agriculture is the basis of our whole progress and perhaps such an education would entice the children to live on the land. In fact the whole surroundings of the school in a rural area would be such as to make them love nature and the land. The school was one of the first things to entice children away from the rural areas into towns and cities but that should be reversed and children from the villages, towns and cities should be brought out into the country.

I would admit that good progress has been made in vocational education and the building of schools, but they are too few at present. While we have vocational schools in all the principal towns only very little provision has been made for vocational education in rural and remote areas. The vocational school should be the centre of vocational education in the parish and all the surrounding parishes and itinerant teachers should be sent to halls in the surrounding areas to give night classes and day classes too in the same subjects as are taught in the parent school. The people who pay rates provide for the building and upkeep of these schools and everybody who pays rates for that purpose should have the opportunity of having his children educated in one of them or in a branch of those schools.

Representations have been made to the Minister, to his predecessor and, I suppose, to his predecessor again, that holidays in the primary schools should conform somewhat to the holidays given in secondary and vocational schools, and it is considered that the best period for holidays in national schools would be July and August, when children can be very useful at home saving hay, other crops and turf. The attendance in the schools during those two months is so irregular that the work done by the teacher is practically nil. Education will lose nothing by giving those extra ten days' holidays, and I do not think that the Department of Education would suffer any loss either.

I have covered primary and vocational education, and I think I had better not touch secondary or university education beyond the reference I made to them at the beginning of my speech. I am sure that the Minister and all his officials are fully alive to the requirements of the various branches of education. They are also aware that if they will always meet the teachers, managers and all others interested in the welfare and education of the children of this country they can feel perfectly sure that they can get their co-operation, so that, in the end, they will work wisely together and co-operate in such a friendly spirit that we shall uplift the educational standard of the children of the State.

I have listened very carefully to Deputy Palmer and, being a new Deputy, I cannot say what his occupation is, but it would appear to me from his knowledge of the teaching profession that he is either a teacher or a retired teacher.

You are right, in the first place.

Therefore, I must pardon him for devoting the whole of his speech to teachers' salaries and pensions and to the building and cleaning of schools. He said very little —and I should have liked to hear him, because I do appreciate that he certainly knows a good deal of his subject—on the teaching of the children. I must say that I was waiting very patiently, but he apparently was overcome by the desire to fight the claims of his colleagues and former colleagues in the teaching profession. He put his case very well, but I would like to have heard more from him on the teaching of our children, which is the most important aspect of the question to every Deputy in this House.

Deputies O'Donnell and Palmer dwelt a great deal on the importance of vocational education and said that vocational teachers were doing valuable work. Is it not only fair then to ask why these teachers should be treated as cinderellas of the teaching profession? Deputy Palmer forgot about the vocational teachers when it came to that.

For three years they were kept knocking at the door by the previous Minister and only in June last they received the Civil Service award more or less as a stop-gap. I understand they were offered by the present Minister the secondary scale. There again, like the proverbial horse, they are living and hoping. From my knowledge of vocational teachers in Dublin I can say that they are doing excellent work and they should not be treated as the cinderellas of the teaching profession.

Deputy Palmer did not agree with the technical schools being built in the city. I should like him to go to Bolton Street, or Parnell Square or Rathmines or Cabra when the students are enrolling and see the queues miles long trying to get into these schools. Does he suggest that we should send them to County Meath or County Dublin or elsewhere? I agree with the Minister's policy of building technical schools where there are big housing schemes. I know the Cabra school very well and it is doing excellent work. There is also a school in Clogher Road and others elsewhere. As far as these housing schemes are concerned, the corporation will provide sites for the schools. The pupils may not have the rural surroundings, but building the schools in these places keeps down the bus fares, etc. It would be a nice thing, of course, to send Dublin children, say, to Mosney to attend school, but it would be hardly fair to ask them to undergo the expense of travelling that far.

I thought I would have heard more from Deputy Palmer regarding the programme in the primary schools, but he simply glossed it over. People like him who have teaching experience should give more information of that kind to Deputies who are not teachers. It would be better for him to ask the Minister, as I will now ask him, is he satisfied that the programme for the primary schools is perfectly satisfactory? Is the standard of the pupils leaving the primary schools as high as it is supposed to be? I do not think it is. Then, again, he could ask him should not more attention be paid to oral Irish and less to written Irish? The Deputy could deal with these questions better than I can. I suggest that when the Estimate for this Department comes before us next year we should hear more about these things from the Deputy and the other teachers.

I also notice that the Report of the Council of Education is taking shape. I can assure the Minister that the report is eagerly awaited by everybody interested in education and the welfare of the children. I would ask the Minister to see that the memorandum submitted to the Council of Education by the Federation of Irish Sport gets a good hearing from the council. It was drawn up by people who are keenly interested in the physical welfare of the children and who went to a great deal of trouble in preparing it. The federation is a voluntary body and the Minister should see that the memorandum gets full consideration by the council.

I am pleased to see from the Minister's statement that there are to be better staffing facilities in the schools for the blind so as to enable the children to get a good deal of individual attention as that is very essential. That is a step in the right direction, and the Minister, or whoever is responsible, is to be congratulated on it. It is a good thing that at last these children are to get a good deal of individual attention. I also notice that there is to be an improvement in the staffing and equipment of the schools for deaf and dumb children. I have some interest in one of these schools, and it is a great thing to see such an improvement being brought about as it has been needed for a long time.

I am also pleased to see that there is some hope in that connection for children who are handicapped mentally, for subnormal children. There is no doubt that the devoted brothers and nuns and lay staff in the schools provided by the religious are doing good work. It is pleasing to know that the Minister for Health has under consideration a Bill to deal with handicapped persons, including children. I hope that that Bill will be introduced soon. These children should receive every possible help. Finally, I should like to congratulate the Minister on the good work he is doing. When you go to him with any problem you are always received with a caed mile failte.

This Estimate is a most important one, because it deals mostly with primary education. Deputies congratulated the Minister on being able to read his speech. I do not know whether the Minister appreciated the congratulations or not. I do not see really why he should be congratulated on being able to read his speech, which was prepared for him by his experts and advisers. Any of us could do that. I should like to ask the Minister and the House where are we travelling so far as the Irish language is concerned? What advance have we made? If we could speak our minds freely, we would say a lot more in regard to the Irish language. That goes for all sides of the House.

What is there to stop you from saying it?

We would say a lot more about the progress and development of the Irish language over a period of years. In the constituency that I come from there is very little interest in the Irish language or in its development.

More shame for you.

I know that the language of a nation is very important. The fact remains that the revival of the language seems to be making very little progress notwithstanding the time and energy spent on it, notwithstanding the considerable amount of money, energy and time that has been spent in that direction. The average parent, be it father or mother, in County Mayo, particularly in the constituency which I represent, feels that the Irish language as taught in the national school, which is the poor man's university, is impeding the attainment of knowledge by the average pupil, and is more of a disadvantage than an advantage. That may not be the popular thing to say; it may not be good politics; it may not be a sound statement to make in a national Parliament——

Whatever else it is, it is not true.

——but we must face the fact that the average Irishman looks on the subject of Irish as taught in the schools as being a burden and a hindrance so far as the education of his children is concerned. The simple reason for that is that one year after leaving school every boy and girl has forgotten seven-eighths of the language they have learned. To my surprise I have discovered that the boy or girl who has left the national school, gone on to the secondary school, and spent four, five or six years there, as the case may be, having left that school, if they do not advance to a university, have forgotten the language after a year or two.

Are we not entitled to put the question: What is the benefit and where is the advancement or the achievement in that direction? I believe in the revival of the Irish language. If there is anything the present head of the Government has ever said which I believe to be true it is that a nation without its own language is in danger. But we must face facts as they are and we must confess to the criticism that is in existence in the constituencies that we represent. I am telling you in truth and in honour what the people are saying at the present moment.

A big percentage of the boys and girls leaving school to-day, and in particular the boy and girl over whom the parents do not exercise control and, mind you, careful control, in seeing that they are kept at home and helped with their lessons in every possible way, are deficient so far as their educational standard is concerned. I knew a day when a boy or girl leaving the national school could be employed in a shop or firm, or even the Civil Service, local or central, but to-day they must attend for one or two years at a secondary school or obtain some other assistance apart from that received in the primary schools before they can serve their time as an apprentice in an ordinary shop down the country. The position is that many of them leaving the primary school cannot read or write; many of them cannot do ordinary arithmetic. You could almost describe them as semi-illiterate. Considering that these children have been at school from the age of six, five, or sometimes even four, up to the age of 14 years, this is a most serious position. I would be failing in my duty if I did not indicate to the Minister and to this House what are the views of the people with whom I come in contact and whom I have met over a period of years. I take a serious view of the present curriculum and of the policy that is being carried out in the national schools.

It is true that the same interest is not taken in the pupils as was taken when some of us were boys going to school. It was more than a position in those days. It was almost, I would say, a very sacred vocation for the teacher. It was a very high calling and it still is, that he should be responsible and have under his control small boys and girls for four, five or six hours in the day. Not only must he impart knowledge to them but he must be a source of example to them in every contact with life from one end of the year to the other, whether it is in the church, in the school, in the street, or wherever else it is. If they see the teacher doing anything that would not be in keeping with the situation, they can point at him as the example for their own actions. While we must admit that the average teachers are worthy citizens and worthy of their calling, when we compare the young teacher of to-day with the teacher of 25 years ago there is a very vast difference. There is also a vast difference between the schoolboy of 25 years ago as compared with the boy of to-day. When you meet a group of young boys on the road coming from school and have a little conversation with them, you will find they have no manners, no courtesy, no discipline; "yes" and "no", "how do you do" and "hello" are all you hear. When I was a boy that was not the conduct I was taught. If we conducted ourselves in that way we would be severely reprimanded.

Did the Deputy benefit by the teaching?

I hope I did. If I did not it was not the teacher's fault; it was mine.

The teachers speak a language you do not understand.

The Deputy should be allowed to make his statement without interruption.

I want to state in all seriousness that I have the utmost respect for the teaching profession. Anything I say here is said with one motive, of imparting to those who are in a position to remedy matters information on certain things, which I consider they should know. I would be failing in my duty if I did not do that. Take the average letter you receive from a boy to-day. In the curriculum in our national schools how many subjects are there? How much grammar is taught? What do the pupils know about writing letters to a friend or applying for a position. I remember getting a letter a short time ago and the word "and" was written "ant". That boy left school at 14 years of age. However, even in regard to those leaving the secondary school, we cannot say an awful lot as regards the standard reached.

Therefore, I would ask the Minister to consider the curriculum and the question of Irish. Are we doing our best to ensure the development and progress of the Irish language or are we unintentionally killing it rather than developing it? The very fact that it is on the downward trend is an admission in that direction. The very fact that less Irish is spoken to-day than in previous years is an admission of failure. It is very significant that I must confess that, whether it is in the dance hall, the cinema, the public-house, the football or hurling field or wherever people meet, I have yet to hear a conversation held in Irish. Children who are taught through the medium of Irish all day rush out of school in their hundreds and revert back to English immediately. Is not that a clear indication that they have neither interest in nor concern for the language? What is the answer to this? I am not going to suggest the answer, but the Minister and his expert advisers know the answer as well as I do. To be quite frank, it would not be popular to say it.

If it is right, say it. Do not mind about the popularity.

You would be the first man to misrepresent me if you thought you would get three votes by so doing. I agreed with Deputy Palmer when he spoke on the subject of the pensions of some retired teachers. I do not propose to go into details with regard to this matter because, to be quite frank, I do not know a whole lot about it. However, there are some retired teachers who have been treated unjustly, and the number is very small. Some of these people are very advanced in years, some being over 80 and some others close to that age. We should look up to these teachers; these were the people who took over from the hedge schoolmasters and who carried on Irish conditions and gave a national outlook in the primary schools when it was not the popular thing to do so. Because of retiring perhaps a few months in advance of certain considerations which were given by the Department of Education they were denied certain allowances. That should not be the case, and I would ask the Minister to be considerate in this matter and not to be holding it in abeyance as has been the case over a number of years.

Deputy Palmer told us also that it should not be the duty of the parents of the children to provide for the heating and the cleaning of schools. It is a long time since I first stated that in this House. I remember when I was a novice in the political field making that case, in all sincerity, on political platforms in my constituency. The teaching profession in that constituency then agreed with me in this regard, but a few months afterwards, at the Irish National Teachers' Organisation Convention in the South of Ireland, some of these teachers, in conjunction with their colleagues, supported a resolution that it should be the duty of parents. That shows the dishonesty of men who are prepared to misrepresent a person in a very insignificant matter in connection with what he was advocating.

I will quote now from the Minister's introductory statement to his Estimate to-day:—

"...I believe that the building, maintenance, repair, heating and cleaning of schools are matters in which the local people, acting through their managers, should continue to have a definite measure of responsibility. The response to that call on the people has not, for various reasons, been adequate in recent years...."

The managers and the local clergymen are finding it extremely difficult to secure the contribution which I believe is reasonably small from the people towards the repair, reconstruction or building of national schools. We must know that the people in my own constituency and in rural Ireland feel that they are taxed enough at the present time and for a number of years back without having to make a contribution towards the cleaning, upkeep and heating of the schools. I feel a scheme could be inaugurated in which the State would be responsible for the building, upkeep, heating and cleaning of schools without infringing one iota on the authority which managers have in the administration of national schools. I think it is disgraceful at this stage of our history, bearing in mind that we are a Christian nation where every citizen, with the exception of a few, believe in the Christian teaching, that the parents of the children should be called on to contribute to the upkeep of our national schools. I fail to see why a scheme such as I have mentioned above could not be provided—a scheme which would leave full powers with the managers, as at present, and yet provide the full capital sum.

It is most unnatural, to say the least of it, that children should be asked to bring with them every morning the fuel for the heating of the schools. Some of these children have to walk two or three miles to school, and if they do not bring the turf with them, their parents must deliver a cart of turf per year to the school. It is not the cart of turf that matters because there is plenty of bog down the country, but it is the inconvenience and the trouble attached to the whole matter to which the parents object. Now that we have rural electrification our new, modern national schools should be heated electrically. I believe, too, that in the schools which are being built at present the rooms should be made much smaller and much more compact so as to keep the heat within a certain specified area. In most of the schools down the country the rooms are very elongated, with a fire at one end and, except on a very wet day, when the atendance has dwindled very much, it is impossible to get near the fire.

I would like to say a word on the subject of hygiene in national schools. It is extraordinary, after 30 years of native administration, that we should have the present unhygienic conditions in these schools. To say the least of it, the conditions are unnatural, out of date, primitive, and ones of which we should feel ashamed. It is no wonder then that the habits developed by little boys and girls frequenting these schools remain with them in their future life. What can one expect when these little boys and girls were used to such primitive conditions while attending our national schools?

Lest it might be imagined that I have any particular grudge against national school teachers, I want to make it clear that I regard them as a fine body of people. However, as I said above, they compare unfavourably with the teachers of the older generation. I will leave the matter at that.

I believe that the vocational schools are essential and are doing a good job of work. As I said here on other occasions, if a man sends his boy to a vocational school and enters him for woodwork, be it joinery or carpentry, for metal work, for smithy work, or for any other of the trades which we know of, he goes there for two, three or five years, and he becomes a very good woodworker. Later, when he goes to Dublin or to any other provincial town he finds that he does not qualify to be a member of the trade union. His time has been wasted except in so far as the knowledge which he has acquired at the vocational school will be of help to him in his own home or on his farm. He can repair a gate or fix a pillar or make a door, and so forth, but he cannot do any of these things if he is not on his own farm. If it is his intention to earn his living by the trade which he has acquired as a result of his attendance at a vocational school, he is faced with the problem of getting into the union when he comes to this city or elsewhere for employment. He must go back and serve his apprenticeship for five long years in the case of joinery, and perhaps for even longer in the case of other trades.

Consider the position of a young man who attends a vocational school for five years and learns a certain trade. I do not deny that he has acquired very valuable technical knowledge, which is of the utmost importance in that particular trade or in any trade, but the fact of the matter is that little consideration is given by his employer to the years which the young man has spent acquiring his trade at a technical school. His wage is not increased as against that of the boy who has no experience. That, in my opinion, is a set-back. More young men would be encouraged to go on for either of the trades I have referred to and would spend two years at a vocational school, between 14 and 16 years, during which time they would acquire a knowledge of the names of the tools, how to sharpen them and so forth, if they got some recognition later for the years they spent at the vocational school. There are lots of things which they would learn there which it would take them at least six months to learn in any joiner's shop in this part of the country or in any building trade. A young man who has acquired that knowledge is an asset to his employer, but I am not aware that the young man gets any consideration in respect of his two years' attendance at the vocational school. Therefore, the only benefit which the vocational school gives to the person who attends it is the fact that he can work in his own home and on his own farm.

On a previous occasion, when Deputy Derrig was the Minister for Education, I suggested that he should consider the opening of schools where plastering and bricklaying would be taught. The various Governments which we have had in this country for the past 30 years have indicated that they are anxious to ease the flow of emigration. Having failed to ease the flow of emigration, which is the regretful fact, notwithstanding that these various Governments have indicated their intention and desire to do so, the least we could do for our young men who have to seek employment abroad would be to equip them with a good sound trade or vocation.

Emigration is still as great as it was at any time for years past. If we fail to provide employment at home for these young people we should not fail to equip them with the one thing that the average man or woman cannot pawn, and that is, as I say, a good sound trade or vocation. In my opinion a good sound trade is much better than wasting the time of a boy or girl by sending them to the university and giving them some profession which may take many long years to provide them with a sufficient return to maintain themselves—not to talk of the parents or guardians who have spent hundreds of pounds educating these young people.

We could open up here—and in particular in the rural areas from which a lot of our youth emigrate—schools where bricklaying and plastering would be taught. I do not think that it would cost a great deal to do so. There would be no waste whatever, particularly so far as bricklaying is concerned. We could equip our young men and turn them out as first-class plasterers and first-class bricklayers. If these young men emigrate they will be able to work at their trade instead of having to become labourers or to do other types of heavy work. They could then engage in the lighter trades and in lighter work. In that way we would at least give them some compensation for our failure to provide them with employment here at home.

Various scholarships are given for agricultural classes. I must say that it is regrettable that more boys do not avail of these scholarships and that more farmers' sons do not avail of them. It should be hammered home to these farmers' sons that when they acquire a scholarship to one or other of these schools——

I think that that matter arises under another Vote.

Yes, I think it comes under the Vote for the Department of Agriculture. My interest lies in the primary and the vocational schools. I should like to draw attention, however, to a matter which affects university students, particularly here in Dublin. These students have to put up with great inconvenience in the matter of securing boarding accommodation. It is most unfair that over the years some provision has not been made for university students who do not live in Dublin. The average boy or girl who comes here to attend the university has to pay something over £3 a week for boarding accommodation. That is a big outlay, apart altogether from books, clothes, pocket-money, university fees, and so forth.

Even though they pay £3 or £3 10s. a week they are crammed three or four into a room. They find it difficult to do any study at home because there is always the boy or the girl who is not interested in study and who will make sure, if at all possible, that the others will not study either. He tries to distract their attention from their work, asks them to go out for a walk— anything to avoid studying. The young students who want to work cannot give the attention to their studies which they would give if they had proper accommodation. They are paying twice as much as reasonable accommodation would cost if it were available. Some steps should be taken immediately to provide proper boarding accommodation for the young men and women who attend our universities. Sometimes they are sent at great inconvenience to their parents who have to provide the necessary funds to defray the cost of their education, and they should be enabled to avail of every effort to make a success of their four, five or six years in the university. I mentioned that matter in this House a number of years ago but nothing has been done about it. I hope that the Minister will give the matter serious consideration in the immediate future.

I want to ask the Minister if he will settle what is a vexed problem in a couple of parts in County Kildare. New schools have been put up in two places in County Kildare and when they were completed it was found that they were sited without any regard to the matter of a water supply. I understand that a war is going on at the moment between the manager of the schools, the county council authorities, the Department of Education and the Board of Works. Meanwhile the children have no water to drink. It would seem that a little forethought by somebody in regard to the siting of a new school would have prevented such an occurrence. I know of one case in particular in South Kildare where the situation is not merely bad but very bad, because I believe that there will be considerable difficulty in getting water at all near the site in question. I move to report progress.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 7th May, 1952.