asked the Minister for Education if he is aware of the continued dissatisfaction in Balbriggan, County Dublin, regarding the fact that Latin and commerce are not taught in the vocational school, and that no transport is available to the nearest secondary school for boys; and what the future holds for Balbriggan boys wishing to proceed to leaving certificate, as they would need now to know where they should transfer to get their leaving certificate next year.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Post-primary Education Facilities for Balbriggan (County Dublin).
As I explained to the Deputy in my reply of 24th October, 1968, the purpose of the free transport scheme is to provide the opportunity of post-primary education for children who live an excessive distance from the nearest post-primary school. The scheme does not apply to boys of intermediate certificate standard residing in Balbriggan, since free education up to that standard is available locally.
Pending the provision of a leaving certificate course for boys in Balbriggan, boys from the area will be given free transport to adjacent centres which provide such a course.
In so far as Latin and commerce are concerned I would inform the Deputy that instruction in commerce is provided in Balbriggan Vocational School and that instruction in Latin can be provided if there is adequate demand for the subject.
Is the Minister aware that every public representative who goes into Balbriggan is approached on this problem? The people there say they do not know where they stand in relation to next year in regard to the leaving certificate, and that they will have to book their places now, or very soon, if they will have to transfer from Balbriggan to Skerries. Will transport be available? Is it also a fact that if Latin is not available at this stage an Arts course cannot be pursued afterwards?
I can assure the Deputy that so far as next year is concerned transport will be provided for students pursuing leaving certificate courses in Balbriggan. There will be transport to Skerries for them. The Deputy has my assurance on that.
Has the Minister a further comment to make on Latin and the Arts course?
Can the Minister guarantee a supply of Latin?
There is Latin available as a subject in Skerries.
The point is that we have not yet organised Balbriggan for post-intermediate certificate courses. It is organised fully up to intermediate certificate level. As far as next year is concerned with regard to leaving certificate the facilities are available for all subjects in Skerries and transport will be provided for the boys and girls in Balbriggan.
Is it not right to say that Latin is not being taught in the intermediate classes in Balbriggan?
Not in the intermediate.
If they have not Latin at the intermediate stage is it not difficult for them to catch up later?
The Deputy is being rather retrograde here because we are seeking to build up the vocational school in Balbriggan and this type of education is surely the education we should be emphasising.
In the course of building it up we cannot neglect those who are losing out until it has been built up.
Question No. 14.