Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Bachelor of Education Degrees.

9.

asked the Minister for Education if he will make a statement on the decision of the NUI not to allow holders of Bachelor of Education degrees to pursue the course leading to the Higher Diploma in Education.

10.

asked the Minister for Education if he is aware that the Bachelor of Education degree of the NUI will now be considered to be an enforced primary degree vis-à-vis the BA and the BSc; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

In relation to Question No. 10 a mistake seems to have been made in the General Office because the word "enforced" should have been "inferior".

It puzzled me. I suppose had I been humble enough I would have telephoned the Deputy and asked what it meant but I thought it might be a word I was supposed to know the meaning of in the context.

A mistake was made and I should like to know from the Minister if he feels able to answer that question with the word "inferior"?

I will answer the question.

With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 9 and 10 together.

These are both matters within the scope of the statutory powers of the appropriate university authorities and I do not have a function in relation to the exercise of such powers.

The introduction of the degree of Bachelor of Education was in the interests of progress but now it seems to be a second-class degree. Does the Minister intend allowing the holders of these degrees the right, like other primary degree holders, to pursue a further course in the university whether it be a Master's Degree or a H. Dip.? That is an important question for many young graduates who hold this degree.

The Deputy is a university graduate and he is well aware that the Minister for Education has had nothing to do with the Senate of the National University of Ireland and, consequently, the Minister cannot undo what they have done.

Many of the holders of the degree of Bachelor of Education were financed by the Department of Education.

The Deputy is making a statement; he should put a question.

Does the Minister think that such graduates should have equal qualifications as other holders of primary degrees from the university? Will the Minister make representations to the university in relation to this matter?

The Deputy should direct his representations to the Senate of the National University of Ireland. The Deputy holds an important education position and he knows that the pressure should be brought to bear elsewhere.

Does the Minister agree with the concept of mobility within the teaching service and, if so, would he not agree that this is a serious matter and that there seem to be different grades of degrees being offered to people involved in the same type of service? Teachers and teachers' organisations agree with the concept of mobility.

That does not arise directly from the question but I agree with mobility. However, any action I can take neither mobilises nor immobilises anybody. This is a function for the Senate of the National University of Ireland.

If a situation was to continue where a body outside the Minister's direct control was to be involved in procedures not acceptable to him or his Department would the Minister consider that there might be grounds for reviewing the whole isolationist attitude of such organisations, particularly when they are massively funded by the public?

This is a hypothetical question.

In other words, the question of the Minister's influence on the NUI.

That is a tricky one. The Deputy should ask Deputy Horgan who represented the NUI.

I represented the graduates.

Would the Minister not agree that in organising the Bachelor of Education degree course the university should have made the course content such as to ensure that the degree would be of equal academic standing as, for example, the degree of Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science?

That is a separate question.

The Minister should answer my question.

On a point of order, the supplementary put by Deputy Collins related to Question No. 10 but the Chair ruled it was a separate question. I should like the Chair to read that question and then relate his decision to it.

I am the person who decides whether a supplementary is relevant or not. The Minister said he has no responsibility and we had seven supplementary questions following that statement. That is a good average. I do not think the Minister is compelled to answer a question which is different from that on the Order Paper.

On a point of order, the Chair allowed my last supplementary and since the Chair did so the Minister should have answered me. He did not make any attempt to answer my question.

I do not wish to be discourteous but the Deputy ignored me when I stated that he was putting a separate question.