Vote 30: Office of the Minister for Education .

: Tairgim:

Go ndeonófar suim nach mó ná £27,055,000 chun íoctha an mhuírir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníochta i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31ú lá de Nollaig, 1978, le haghaidh tuarastail agus costais Oifig an Aire Oideachais (lena n-áirítear Forais Eolaíochta agus Ealaíon), le haghaidh seirbhísí ilghnéitheacha áirithe oideachais agus cultúir, agus chun ildeontais-i-gcabhair a íoc.

Is é an t-iomlán atá ar fáil do na seirbhísí oideachais sa bhliain 1978, de réir mar a tugadh ins na meastacháin ag tús na bliana, ná tuairim is £354 milliúin. Tá os cionn £2 mhilliún i leith Leithris-i-gCabhair ins an áireamh anseo. Níl aon soláthar ann don chomhaontú nua pá a deineadh óshin. Do b'é £296 milliúin an figiúir ionchomórtais sa bhliain 1977, sé sin, iomlán na meastachán sul má tháinig an cháinfhaisnéis ná na meastacháin fóirlíontacha.

Do caitheadh thart ar £310 milliúin sa bhliain 1977 ach ní féidir a rá fós cén caiteachas iomlán a bheidh ann imbliana; mar sin is mithid soláthair an dá bhlian a mheas tré'n £354 milliúin, ag tús na bliana 1978, agus an £296 milliúin a bhí ann ag tús 1977 a chur i gcomparáid le chéile—ar an mbonn sin tá méadú de tuairim is 20 faoin gcéad ann imbliana.

Meastar an olltáirgeacht náisiúnta don bhliain 1977 ag £5,400 milliúin, agus táthar ag tuar go dtiocfaidh figiúir na bliana 1978 go dtí £6,300 milliúin. B'shin méadú san olltáirgeacht náisiúnta de 16? faoin gcéad idir 1978 agus 1977, agus dá réir sin ba mhó an caiteachas ar oideachas mar chéadchodán den olltáirgeacht náisiúnta sa bhliain 1978 ná i 1977. Tá sé le sonrú freisin go bhfuil an ráta bliantúil boilscithe laghdaithe go dtí tuairim is 7 faoin gcéad cheana féin.

: On a point of order, is it possible to have the official Dáil translator present?

: Nach bhfuil sé ann?

: Ba cóir dó bheith.

: Tá sé ag teacht.

: An mian leat fanacht go dtiocfaidh sé?

: An mbeidh aistriúchán ann i mBéarla?

: Sea. With the permission of the Chair, we will wait for the official translator.

: On a point of order, I think some Ministers have established the precedent of circulating their speeches to the Opposition spokesmen before the sitting of the Dáil as a matter of courtesy and to facilitate the spokesmen in considering the Minister's speech. I must say I am disappointed that on this occasion the Minister for Education did not see his way to circulate his speech in such a manner.

: I am not aware of such a precedent. When I was spokesman for my party in Opposition an Estimate was moved and this courtesy was not extended to me, nor was the speech ready when the Minister moved the vote. I had to intervene and complain that a copy of the speech was not available. I do not want to introduce an acrimonious note. If there is a precedent in my Department for doing what the Deputy has suggested, I am not aware of it. My own experience has been the direct opposite.

Ó is mó ná an meán de 20 faoin gcéad an méadú i limistéir áirithe den oideachas, ní foláir ná gur lú ná sin an méadú in áiteanna eile. Tá soláthar déanta sna meastacháin chun an coibhneas daltaí-múinteoirí i scoileanna den dara leibhéal a fhéabhsú, agus chun breis múinteoirí a chur ar fáil do bhunscoileanna. Soláthraítear freisin d'ardú maith ins na deontais ardoideachais, agus tá suim mhaith airgid breise á chur ar fáil chomh maith, sa bhliain 1978, d'ardaithe sna deontais chapataíochta do scoileanna náisiúnta agus sna deontais bhreise in áit táillí teagaisc i gcás na meánscoileanna. Fógraíodh na méadaithe seo sna deontais chapataíochta agus sna deontais bhreise in áit táillí teagaisc i Mí na Bealtaine 1977 ach bhí éifeacht le bheith leo, ó thaobh soláthar airgeadais de, ó thús na bliana airgeadais 1978 amháin. Ar an gcaoi chéanna, an maolú a deineadh ar choinníollacha na scéime deontas ardoideachais, agus an méadú i luach na ndeontas féin, is ó thosach na bliana 1978 a bhí an soláthar airgid le déanamh dóibh i Vóta an Aire Oideachais.

Deintear soláthar i Vóta Oifig an Aire Oideachais i leith (a) costaisí riaracháin na Roinne Oideachais (b) costais na seirbhíse ealaíon agus cultúrtha a cuirtear ar fáil sa Mhusaem agus sa Leabharlainn Náisiúnta, agus (c) costais sheirbhísí ilghnéitheacha oideachasúla.

Is é £27,055,000 an méid atá á iarraidh sa Vóta seo—méadú de £4,383,000 ar an méid a soláthraíodh anuraidh. Seo iad na neithe is mó is cúis leis an ardú seo:

(1) Deontais ardoideachais (fo-mhírcheann C.1) a bhfuil £475,000 breise á lorg dóibh.

(2) Foilseacháin i nGaeilge (fo-mhírcheann D.1)—£79,000 breise á lorg.

(3) Seirbhísí iompair (fo-mhírcheann D.3)—£1,796,500 breise á lorg.

(4) Soláthar nua de £1,200,000 ohun deontais a íoc le húdaráis bunscoileanna agus meánscoileanna i leith chúnamh cléireachais (fo-mhírcheann D.9).

(5) £300,000 breise don chiste i leith eagraíochtaí a fhreastalaíonn d'Ógra agus Spóirt, a maoinítear le deontas-i-gcabhair (fo-mhírcheann G.19).

(6) Costais riartha na Roinne (fo-mhírcheann A.1) a bhfuil méadú measta de £359,900 iontu.

As an soláthar do dheontais ardoideachais déanfar aisíoc leis na h-údaráis áitiúla i leith an airgid a chaitheadar sa bhliain 1977 ar dheontais faoin scéim. Ar an ábhar sin, léirítear sa bhfo-mhírcheann seo, imbliana, toradh an mhaolaithe a deineadh ar na coinníollacha cáilíochta i scéimeanna deontas na bliana 1977 maraon leis an ardú i luach na ndeontas a tháining in éifeacht ó thús na bliana acadúla 1977/78. Measaim gur chóir dom na feabhsaithe seo ar na scéimeanna a lua le Dáil Éireann.

Rinne mé machnamh cúramach iomlán ar cheist ardaithe na ndeontas ardoideachais chun aidhm na scéime a bhaint amach oiread is a b'fhéidir ó thaobh fáil ar ardoideachas a chur ann do chách, gan bacadh le maoin na dtuismitheoirí, ar an gcaoi a b'éifeachtaí. Is minic ráite é go bhfuil an codán de na micléinn ardoideachais a thagann ó na haicmí is ísle ioncaim ró-bheag, agus mheas mé go mba chóir dom díriú ar an ngné seo den scéal ach go háirithe, agus an scéim á breithniú agam. D'ardaíodh an chuid chothabhála den deontas, don uair dheireannach, sa bhliain 1974—ardú go dtí £300 maximum. Fógraíodh leasú eile uirthe i ráiteas na Cainfhaisnéise, 1977, ach dúradh nach mbeadh éifeacht leis go dtí tosach na bliana acadúla 1977/ 78. Sa chaoi sin, ní dhéanfaí an breis-chostas a aisíoc leis na húdaráis áitiúla go dtí 1978.

Bhí sé ag luí le réasún, dar liom, gurb é luach an deontais an príomhrud a bhéadh le meá ag tuismitheoirí bochta nuair a bheadh ceist ardoideachais dá gclann faoi chaibidil. Ní haon mhaith bheith taobh istigh de na teorainneacha ioncaim maran leor an deontas féin chun go bhféadfadh an mac-léinn cúis a dhéanamh. Mheas mé go raibh luach na ndeontas chomh h-íseal sin le blianta beaga anuas gurbh éigean do dhaltaí áirithe, a bhí cáilithe ó thaobh coinníollacha oideachais agus maoine na scéime, tabhairt suas do na deontais. Aon duine a dheineann iniúchadh ar na figiúirí ar an ísliú a tháinig ar líon na daoine go raibh na deontais acu tuigfidh sé an scéal.

Fógraíodh maolú sna coinníollacha acmhainne i Mí na Bealtaine, 1977. agus bunaíodh scéimeanna na n-údarás áitiúil don bhliain acadúil 1977/78 ar na teorainneacha nua acmhainne agus ar leibhéil na ndeontas mar a fógraíodh iad i ráiteas na cáinfhaisnéise i Mí Eanáir. Bhí mé sásta go raibh géar-ghá ag an am sin le méadú maith ana deontais a bhí á n-íoc leis na micléinn. Socraíodh, mar sin, an chuid chothabhála den deontas a ardú go £500 maximum, le h-éifeacht ó thosach na bliana acadúla seo, agus méadaithe dá réir sin a dhéanamh ar na leibhéil eile deontais. An méadú seo de 66? faoin gcéad, tá sé níos airde, de chuid mhaith, ná an méadú a tháinig ar phraghasanna sa tréimhse ó 1973 go 1977. Is mithid a rá freisin mar gheall ar an dara cuid den deontas —cuid na dtáillí—gur méadaíodh í sin ó £249 maximum sa bhliain 1976/77 go £289 (gnáth-mhaximum) i 1977/78, nó go maximum speisialta de £400 i gcásanna eisceachtúla a bhaineann leis an dámh atá i gceist. Sa bhliain 1977/78, mar shampla, tig leis an deontas iomlán do mhacléinn ar leith bheith chomh hard le £900, sin £500 i leith cothabhála agus £400 i leith táillí.

Le linn díospóireachta i nDáil Éireann i Mí Feabhra 1977 dhein mé tagairt don fhírinne go raibh na teorainneacha intofachta, nár leasaíodh iad ón mbliain acadúil 1972-73, imithe as réasún ar fad fé mar a bhain siad le lucht pá agus tuarastal. Ina dhiaidh sin, i Mí Bealtaine 1977 feabhsaíodh na teorainneacha intofachta sin go mór agus, mar a dubhairt mé cheana, tugadh na teorainneacha nua sin isteach sna scéimeanna do 1977-1978.

Tá tuille machnaimh déanta agam air seo, maidir le ceist na dteorainneacha a ba chóir a údarú ins na scéimeanna do 1978. Feictear dom gurb í aidhm bhunúsach na scéimeanna, cabhrú chomh fada agus is féidir le teaghlaigh i sprioc-ghrúpa ar leith—grúpa a thagann faoi uasteora tuarastail, pá nó ioncaim eile. Ba cheart go mbeadh baint ag an deontas le h-ioncam an teaghlaigh agus le líon na leanaí san teaghlach. Ina theannta seo, ní mór acmhainn airgeadais an Stáit ag an am a thabhairt san áireamh freisin.

Aineoinn an feabhas a cuireadh ar na teorainneacha intofachta, mí Bealtaine 1977—agus tá mise ag díol astu anois i 1978—mheas mé go mbeadh sé i gceart iad a fheabhsú tuilleadh i 1978. Mar sin tá sé socair go mbeidh na teorainneacha ioncaim i scéimeanna na bliana 1978 i bhfad níos fábharaí ná iad sin a bhí i bhfeidhm i 1977. Tá na teorainneacha leasaithe seo á gcur in iúl do na húdaráis áitiúla i láthair na huaire.

Is é £5,100 an teora nua ag barr an tábla, in áit an £4,200 a bhí ann i 1977, sin méadú de níos mó ná 21 faoin gcéad. Ag bun an tábla, beidh an teora chéanna ann don lanamha a bhfuil páiste amháin aca nó a bhfuil beirt pháiste aca, agus ardófar an teora sin ó £2,625—nó luacháil ionrátaithe de £37.50—go dtí £3,400—nó luacháil ionrátaithe de £40. Tá beagnach 30 faoin gcéad de mhéadú ansin. Tá cóipeanna de na táblaí leasaithe á gcur timpeall agam mar eolas do na teachtaí. Ba mhaith liom cúpla focal a rá ina thaobh seo i gcoitinne.

An teora ioncaim ag bun an tábla, ní h'ionann í agus líne teorann idir na daoine a gceadófaí dóibh agus iad sin nach gceadófaí. Tá na micléinn ar fad a bhfuil ioncam a dtuismitheoirí faoi bhun na teorann sin incháilithe don deontas, ach tá micléinn eile, a bhfuil ioncam an teaghlaigh os a chionn sin, incháilithe freisin. I gcás teaghlaigh a bhfuil seisear páiste cleithiúnach ann beidh an deontas iomlán iníochta i gcás nach mó ioncam na dtuismitheoirí ná £4,250, ach beidh cuid den deontas—cuid na dtáillí—iníochta nuair nach mó an tioncam ná £5,100. Tá tráchtairí ann a choinníonn aire ar an teora maoine atá sa scéim do dheontas iomlán i gcás teaghlaigh nach bhfuil ann ach duine nó beint pháiste chleithiúnacha. Breathnaíonn sé go bhfuil léiriú míohothrom á dhéanamh acu seo ar an scéal, sin, nó nach dtuigeann siad i gceart é.

Bhí 6,108 mac-léinn i seilbh deontas ardoideachais sa bhliain acadúil 1976-77, deontais a b'fhiú £2,560,193 san iomlán iad. Meastar líon na sealbhóirí deontas imbliana ag timpeall is 6,000 ar fad, de luach iomlán thart ar £3,553,000.

As an iomlán de £480,000 i leith foilseacháin i nGaeilge, beidh £200,000 ag teastáil do na leabhair a fhoilseóidh An Gúm i gcomhair le hOifig an tSoláthair. Orthu sin beidh leabhair do pháistí, téacsanna bunscoile, gnáthlitríocht, foclóirí agus ceol. Maidir leis an bhFoclóir Gaeilge/Béarla, tuigtear ó na clódóirí go mbeidh sé ar fáil go han-luath. Meastar go mbeidh £255,000 ag teastáil chun deontais a íoc le foilsitheoirí príobháideacha i gcabhair ar chostais foilsithe téacsleabhar agus irisí oideachasúla i nGaeilge. Tá £25,000 á chur ar fáil imbliana, freisin don chéad uair chun cabhrú le foilsiú téacsanna ollscoile i nGaeilge. Tá mion-phointí na scéime sin á bplé fós idir mo Roinn-se agus an tÚdarás um Ard-Oideachas.

Tá soláthar á dhéanamh i suim £13,605,000 do na seirbhísí iompair, atá ag fairsingiú i gcónaí. Faoi dheireadh na bliana airgeadais seo a measaim go mbeidh saor-iompar chun na scoile ag 164,000 daltaí, i gcomórtas le 159,000 ag tús na bliana. Soláthraítear anseo freisin d'fhordheontas speisialta de £699,500 a íocfar le Córas Iompair Éireann chun cur ar a gcumas páistí nach bhfuil i dteideal saor-iompar a thabhairt ar scoil agus ar ais ar na gnáth-bhusanna ar tháillí laghdaithe. Tá suim £455,000 sa mheastachán chomh maith chun díol as 30 busanna nua scoile. Cé go bhfuil costaisí ag méadú de bharr rátaí pá, praghsanna agus líon na bpáistí scoile bheith ag ardú, mar sin fhéin do b'fhéidir an breis-chostas a choinneáil ag leibhéal an-réasúnta. Deineadh é sin tré oibriú na seirbhísí a choimeád fá ghrinn-bhreithniú.

An Scéim Saor-Iompair, mar tá feidhm léi faoi láthair, tá sí ann ón mbliain 1967. Tá an méadú mór ar chostas na scéime ina chúis imní dúinn, ní nach íonadh, cé gur léir go néiríonn sé as fás na scéime agus as boilsciú an airgid. Socraíodh sa bhliain 1976 go raibh sé in am an córas a aithbhreithniú ó bhun, agus ceapadh comhlacht comhairleach bainistíochta chun staidéar iomlán a dhéanamh air. Tá tuarascáil faighte ón gcomhlacht, maille le moltaí áirithe faoi oibriú na scéime san am atá le teacht. Déanfar na fionnachtana agus na moltaí a chíoradh go mion i mo Roinn.

Don chéad uair ariamh, tá soláthar á dhéanamh agam i mbliana chun deontaisí a íoc le boird bhainistíochta bunscoile agus le h-Údaráis Meánscoile chun cur ar a gcumas cúnamh cléireachais a fhostú. Faoi láthair tá boird bhainistíochta ann i mbeagnach 4,000 scoil—idir scoileanna náisiúnta agus gairmscoileanna. Tá ar 250 meán scoil ann a bhfuil níos mó ná 300 daltaí cláraithe iontu agus nár mhiste, meastar, cabhair airgid a thabhairt doibh chun cúnamh cléireachais lán-aimsireach a fhostú.

Séard a bheadh i gceist agam i gcoitinne ná go gcuirfeadh na húdaráis scoile le céile, de réir mar d'oirfheadh, chun ceapacháin bhreise lán-aimsearacha a dhéanamh, ar bhun seirbhíse a bheadh roinnte idir dhá bhunscoil, abair, nó dhá mheánscoil, nó idir bunscoil agus meánscoil sa cheantar chéanna Meastar go gcruthófar 600—ní beag an méid sin—post lán-aimsearach san iomlán, ag freastal do na bun-scoileanna agus do na meánscoileanna, ar chostas do £1,200,000 sa bhliain.

Tá cóipeanna de Mheastachán Fhoirlíontach, a beartaítear a chur os comhair na Dála i dteannta leis na príomh-Mheastacháin d'fhonn breis soláthair de £35,000 a dhéanamh dos na tochaltáin seandálaíochta atáar siúl ag Cé na Coille, Baile Átha Cliath, faighte cheana ag Teachtaí.

Tar éis do Bhardas Átha Cliath cinneadh, i mí Meán Fhómhair 1977, ar dul ar aghaidh le tógáil na noifigí nua chathardha ag Cé na Coille, cuireadh i láthair an Aire Oideachais go mba chóir tuille tochailte a dhéanamh ar an suíomh ins an áit a raibh Oifig an Ghiolla Buacairí uair amháin. Socraíodh airgead a chur ar fáil chun cur ar chumas Ard-Mhusaem na hÉireann an áit sin a thochailt, ar chostas measta de £75,000.

Cuireadh £25,000 ar fáil anuraidh le Meastachán Fóirlíontach. Tá an fuíollach, £50,000, istigh san £54,000 atá á chur ar fáil i meastacháin na bliana 1978 i leith tochailtí seandálaíochta Ard-Mhusaem na hÉireann.

Deineadh ordú cúirte san ArdChúirt, ag tarraingt ar dheireadh na bliana 1977, a chros ar Bhardas Átha Cliath baint le dhá mhóta cré, a nochtadh ar chuid den tsuíomh nuair a bhí tochailt seandálaíochta ar siúl ag Ard-Mhusaem na hÉireann roimhe sin. Rinne an Chúirt Uachtarach an t-ordú a scaoileadh de bharr gealltanais a thug an bardas nach ndéanfaí na mótaí seo a thochailt gan cead i scríbhinn ó Choimisinéirí na nOibreacha Poiblí.

Tá cead tugtha ag Coimisinéirí na nOibreacha Poiblí do thochailt seandálaíochta ar na mótaí cré agus tá tochailt áirithe eile molta acu chomh maith. Cosnóidh na hoibreacha seo tuairim is £35,000 agus táthar chun an méid sin a sholáthar le Meastachán Fóirlíontach.

Tá £300,000 níos mó á iarraidh chun breis chúnaimh a chur ar fáil d'eagraíochtaí a fhreastalaíonn don óige agus do spóint. Ciallaíonn an soláthar seo méadú 75 faoin gcéad ar an suim airgid a cuireadh ar fáil i 1977. An tsuim atá ar fáil anseo bainfear feidhm as chun leanúint le Scéim na nDeontas do na hEagraíochta Ógra agus Spóirt atá i bhfeidhm le roinnt bhliain anuas, agus chun soláthar do "COSPOIR"—an Chomhairle Spóirt a bhuníodh i mí Feabhra. Cuirfear £200,000 ar fáil i leith scéim nua deontais chun airgead capitil a sholáthar do shaoráidí spóint.

Rinne Séamas Ó Tonnaí, Aire Stáit ag an Roinn Oideachais "COSPOIR"—an Chomhairle Náisiúnta Spóirt—a bhunú ar 10 Feabhra 1978 le téarmaí tagartha deá-mheasta. Roghnaíodh agus tugadh le chéile, mar bhaill den Chomhairle, cúig dhuine fhichead atá go mór ar son spóirt agus caitheamh aimsire fuinní, sa chiall is leithne de, a chur ar aghaidh; daoine iad a bhain gradam amach in a spóirteanna féin mar chleachtóirí nó mar riarthóirí.

De réir a théarmaí tagartha, gníomhóidh "COSPOIR" mar chomhairleoir don Aire Stáit i leith polasaí an Rialtais maidir le "Spóirt do Chách". Tá sé mar phríomhchuspóir ag "Spóirt do Chách" oiread daoine agus is féidir a spreagadh chun páirt a ghlacadh i bhfíor-spóirt nó i ngníomhaíochtaí cleachtúla a chuirfidh saothar coirp orthu de réir a nacmhainn. Tá an míúsáid a baintear as scíth go soiléir le feiceáil inár dtimpeall, sin agus an droch-thoradh a bhíonn ar fhairsingiú airgid; tá sé soiléir freisin cén mhaith a d'fhéadfaidh feachtas "Spóirt do Chách" a dhéanamh i modh beatha na ndaoine.

Cuirfidh an Chomhairle spóirt agus cleachtadh coirp chun cinn mar chaitheamh aimsire imeasc an phobail. Beidh ardú chaighdeán iomaitheoireachta i spóirteanna comhlinte mar aidhm eile ag an gComhairle; is corrdhuine a bheidh ina choinne seo ar an ábhar go bhfuil sé riachtanach ainm na hÉireann a chur in airde níos minicí ar láithreacha idirnáisiúnta ní hamháin ar mhaithe le spóirt agus le mórtas náisiúnta, ach fós ar mhaithe le tionscail agus le trádáil na tíre.

Tabharfar oiread saoirse agus is féidir do "COSPOIR", ar a n-áirítear saoirse chun dul i gcomhairle le hinstitiúidí nó le gníomhaireachtaí eile lena aidhm a chur i gcrích. Tá a chathaoirleach neamhspleách fhéin aige, foireann cuidithe agus ciste airgid, an rud deiridh an rud is tábhachtaí. Tá an ciste i leith Fostaíocht do Dhaoine Óga—ciste a maoinítear le Deontas-i-gCabhair—á choinneáil ar bun, agus beartaím é a mhéadú go £300,000. Cuireadh £250,000 ar fáil le meastachán fóirlíontach eile, i Mí Iúil 1977 augs £44,000 de bhreis ar sin, le meastachán fóirlíontach eile, i Mí na Nollag 1977. Toise chomh maith is a d'éirigh leis an scéim anuraidh, agus go h-áirithe ó thaobh polasaí an Rialtais i dtaobh fostaíocht do dhaoine óga, táthar chun £300,000 a chur ar fáil i 1978.

Meastar go gcosnóidh tuarastal, pá is liúntaisí foireann na Roinne, idir lucht riaracháin agus daoine profeisiúnta, £5,111,000. Méadú de £360,000 é seo, ar an ábhar go mb'éigean soláthar iomlán bliana a dhéanamh i leith chostas an Chomhaontú Náisiúnta Pá, 1977, agus i leith pá chothrom, chomh maith leis an soláthar breise is gá a dhéanamh gach bliain i leith incrimintí. Tá £58,000 istigh ann, freisin, chun díol as méadú an-mheasardha—ro-mheasardha, is dóigh liom—i líon na fóirne.

Tá soláthar £10,000 á dhéanamh i bhfo-mhírcheann G.20, maraon le leithreas-i-gcabhair den méid chéanna, ag éirí socruithe a deineadh chun seoda as ealaíon ársa na hÉireann a chur ar thaispeáint i Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá.

Tá an taispeántas á reachtáil sa Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art i Nua Eabhroc agus i gceithre cinn eile de chathracha Mheiriceá, mar atá: San Franciso, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh agus Boston.

Faoi théarmaí comhaontaithe a deineadh idir an Metropolitan Museum of New York, an tAire Oideachais, Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann agus Coláiste na Tríonóide, déanfar íochtaí mar a leanas leis na páirtithe Éireannacha:

(a) $50,000 i leith gach ceann de na cúig mhusaem i Meiriceá a bhéas páirteach—sin iomlán de $250,000 agus

(b) 50 faoin gcéad den ghlanbhrabús a déanfar go ceann deich mblian ar dhíolacháin chláracha, foillseacháin eile, macsamhla agus aroile.

Socraíodh go ndíolfaí 20 faoin gcéad den airgead a bhéas ag dul do na páirtithe Éireannacha, indiaidh costas a bheith bainte, leis an Ard-Mhusaem i leith chuspóirí scolártha.

Bhí cion an Mhusaem den £250,000, sé sin £28,700, istigh mar leithreas-i-gcabhair sa Mheastachán Fóirlíontach anuraidh, agus cruthaíodh deontas nua i gcabhair dar teideal "Special USA Exhibition Fund" faoi fho-mhírcheann G.20 chun an tairgead a íoc amach ar son cuspóirí scolártha an Mhusaem. Tá an £10,000 atá i bhfo-mhírcheann G.20 do 1978 'á chur ann sa chaoi gur féidir an socrú céanna a oibriú imbliana maidir leis na fáltais ón fhoinse seo, a thiocfaidh chun sochair don Stát i modh Leithreas-i-gCabhair.

Tá £131,579,000 á iarraidh don bhunoideachas, (ar a n-áirítear aoisliúntais mhúinteoirí náisiúnta), sin glan-mhéadú de £14,353,000. Baineann an méadú is mó (beagnach £10 milliún) le hardú tuarastal na múinteoirí náisiúnta (fo-mhírceann C.1).

Imeasc na nithe eile a d-ardaigh tá:

(1) Deontais do choláistí oiliúna (fo-mhírcheann A1)—ardú de £1,337,500.

(2) Deontais agus iasachtaí do mhic léinn na gcoláistí oiliúna —ardú de £150,000 (fo-mhírcheann A2).

(3) Deontais chapataíochta i leith chostais riartha scoileanna náisiúnta —ardú de £1,080,000 (fo-mhírcheann C5).

(4) Aoisliúntais mhúinteoirí—ardú de £1,039,000 (fo-mhírcheann D).

(5) Tógáil, feistiú agus glésadh scoileanna náisiúnta—ardú de £800,000 (fo-mhírcheann E).

San ardú sna deontais do na coláistí oiliúna tá £1,150,000 breise i leith oibreacha chaipitil agus £187,500 breise i leith costaisí reatha na gColáistí. Caithfear an t-airgead caipitil chun leathnú agus ath-chóiriú a dhéanamh ar thrí cinn de na choláistí oiliúna: Coláiste Phadhraic, Dromconnrach, Coláiste Bhaintiarna na Trócaire, An Charraig Dhubh agus Coláiste Mhuire gan Smál, Luimneach. Tá na hoibreacha seo ag teastáil toisc go bhfuil cúrsa oiliúna trí bliana ann anois, agus fós toisc go bhfuil níos mó céimithe á n-oiliúint. Tá an obair faoi lán-tseoil sna trí coláistí agus beidh an chóiríocht bhreise ar fáil faoi thús na bliana acadúla 1979-80. Cosnóidh an obair thógála £2,300,000 i bpraghasanna an lae inniu.

Maidir le gnáth-chostaisí reatha na gcoláistí, tá méadú de 5.7 faoin gcéad thar soláthar na bliana seo caite á lorg.

Sé líon na macléinn sna coláistí don bhliain acadúil 1977-78 (gan na múinteoirí speisialta ar oiliúnt san áireamh) ná 2,506; dóibh sin tá 2,298 micléinn ag déanamh an chúrsa B.Ed. agus 208 céimithe ag freastal ar an chúrsa bliana don diploma. Ó 1 Iúil 1978 beidh 1,000 micléinn ar fáil do cheapacháin i scoileanna náisiúnta.

Faoin scéim ar leith do mhúinteoirí speisialta faoi oiliúint, chuaigh 266 céimithe isteach sna Coláistí Oideachais ar 1 Nollaig 1977. Os rud é go mbeidh an cúrsa speisialta críochnaithe acu faoi Nollaig 1978 beidh siad ar fáil do na bunscoileanna ó Eanáir 1979.

Le héifeacht ó thosach na scoilbhliana 1977-78 méadaíodh an deontas caipitíochta a íoctar i leith costaisí reatha scoileanna náisiúnta ó £6 go dtí £8 ar bhreis-chostas measta de £1,080,000 i mbliana.

Tá £800,000 níos mó ná mar a tugadh anuraidh á chur ar fáil i 1978 tógáil scoileanna náisiúnta. Cuirfear na háiteanna nua ar fáil i gceantair nua tithíochta, i gceantair nach bhfuil ach sean-chóiríocht mhíshásúil scoile iontu faoi láthair, i scoileanna nua speisialta do pháistí faoi bhac, i scoileanna nua lárnacha a mbeidh scoileanna beaga tuaithe á gcónascadh le céile iontu agus mar sin de. Tá roinnt scoileanna ann i gcónaí nach bhfuil sásúil ó thaobh chóiríochta de chun freastal ar riachtanaisí an churaclaim nua.

Is chun pinsin, cnapshuimeanna agus aiscí eile a dhíol le nó i leith múinteoirí agus baintreacha agus páistí iarmhúinteoirí náisiúnta an soláthar atá á iarraidh i bhfo-mhírcheann D. Do b'é £14,000,000 an soláthar sa bhfo-mhírcheann i 1977, meastachán forlíontach £500,000 san áireamh. Tá £15,039,000 sa bhfo-mhírcheann do 1978, ardú de £1,039,000.

Ardú ar líon na bpinsinéirí (ó 5,216 ag 31.12.76 go 5,379 ag 31.12.77, baintreacha san áireamh), agus feidhmiú Chomhaontú Náisiúnta Pá 1977 is cúis leis an ardú.

An méadú is mó dá bhfuil sa Vóta seo—beagnach £10 milliún i leith tuarastal múinteoirí—éiríonn sé as breiseanna a fuair múinteoirí náisiúnta faoin gComhaontú Náisiúnta Pá, 1977, faoi na socraithe maidir le pá cothrom do mhnáibh, ceann tábhachtach eile, agus faoi ardaithe i liúntais áirithe a ceadaíodh do na múinteoirí faoin Scéim Idir-réitigh agus Eadrána; breiseanna iad seo ar fad a bhfuil a gcostas iomlán bliantúil le soláthar don chéad uair imbliana.

I mbliana, mhéadaigh líon na ndaltaí ó 536,476 i 1976-77 go timpeall 541,700 i 1977-78 agus bé líon na múinteoirí ag deireadh 1977 ná17,419.

Ba mhaith liom focal a rá freisin faoi oideachas speisialta, faoin gclár atá á leanacht ina leith agus faoi aidhmeanna an chláir sin.

Ó go luath sna caogaidí, tá an soláthar oideachais atá ann do pháistí a bhfuil máchail choirp nó intinne orthu ag fás go réidh. Inniu, tá oideachas speisialta á chur ar fáil i scoileanna agus i ranganna speisialta do 9,700 éigin páiste, i gcomparáid le 1,500 fiche bliain ó shoin. Feidhmítear scoileanna agus ranganna speisialta laistigh den chreathlach ginearálta den chóras oideachais náisiúnta. Tá soláthair speisialta ann faoina bhfuil coimheas oidí-páistí níos ísle acu, deontais níos airde, córas iompair comaoineach agus curaclam sochóirithe. Cuirtear teagasc ina mbaile féin ar fáil do na páistí sin nach dtig leo freastal ar scoil siocar an máchail atá orthu.

Is é dearcadh an lae inniu páistí atá faoi mhíbhuntáiste a spreagadh, comh fada agus is féidir é, chun freastal ar ghnáth-scoileanna, agus féachtar le gach cabhair a thabhairt dóibh. Deintear iarracht fhónta féachaint chuige go mbeidh gnáthshaol scoile acu chomh fada agus is féidir é. Tá na húdaráis scoile ag glacadh leis gurb amhlaidh a ba cheart an scéal a bheith.

Tá soláthar fónta ann ag an bhunleibhéal dóibh siúd a bhfuil máchail amháin orthu. Táthar ag díriú aird anois ar pháistí iléislinneacha agus ar chóras oiriúnach iarbhunoideachais a bhunú do pháistí fo-éislinneacha.

Go dtí le déanaí, sé an rud a raibh béim air ná bunoideachas a chur ar fáil do pháistí meánéislinneacha. Tá, áfach, roinnt ionaid oiliúna curtha ar bun ar fud na tíre chun scileanna agus oiliúint sóisialta a thabhairt do na páistí seo a ligfeadh dóibh dul ag obair i gceardlanna cosanta nó i bhfostaíocht oscailte. Ón taithí atá againn air, is léir go mbaineann na foghlaimeoirí tairbhe as an tionscnamh seo. Íocann mo Roinn cion mór de chostais reatha na nionad seo.

Is fiú a lua fosta go bhfuil coiste ann faoi láthair, ar a bhfuil oidí agus bainisteoirí scoileanna do pháistí meánéislinneacha agus ionadaithe de chuid mo Roinne, agus curaclam a réiteoidh riachtanais na bpáistí seo á cheapadh acu. Tá sé seo an-thábhachtach. Táthar ag súil go dtabharfar isteach sna scoileanna é roimh deireadh na bliana, lena thástáil.

Tá socraithe á gcur i ngníomh, freisin, chun cabhrú le páistí lucht siúil bheith rannpháirteach sa ghnáthdhaonra scoile, faoi mar a moladh i dTuarascáil an Choimisiúin um Sreothaíocht. Nuair is féidir dóthain de pháistí lucht siúil a thabhairt le chéile, cuirtear ranganna speisialta i scoileanna náisiúnta ar bun dóibh. Tá sé sin deacair go leor. Íocann an Roinn Oideachais, fosta, deontais mar chabhair ar chostais ranganna réamhscoile do pháistí lucht siúil, ranganna a eagraítear ag cumainn deonacha.

Tá soláthar á dhéanamh do na himeachtaí seo ar fad i bhfo-mhírchinn A3, C1, C3 agus C4 den Vóta.

Ba mhaith liom tagairt a dhéanamh anseo, freisin, do thionscnamh Sráid Rutland. Triail rialaithe a bhí anseo, maidir le oideachas tosaigh a chur ar fáil do pháistí i gceann de na ceantracha is lú bunaithe i lár Bhaile Átha Cliath. An Roinn Oideachais agus an Bernard Van Leer Foundation san Ísealtír a bhí i bpáirt i gcostas na scéime. Cuireadh tús leis an mbeartas i 1969 agus chríochnaigh sé go h-oifigiúil sa mbliain 1974. Ó shin i leith tá na socraithe speisialta á gcoinneáil i bhfeidhm i Scoileanna Sráid Rutland. Foilsíodh tuarascáil taighde ar an mbeartas anuraidh, a scrúdaíonn an tionchar a bhí aige ar na páistí agus a nochtann tuairimí gincarálta faoi. Tá foilseachán eile á ullmhú, faoi mar a dúirt mé inné sa Dáil ag Tráth na gCeist.

An cheist seo ar fad i dtaobh riachtanas oideachais na gceantar seo atá ligthe i bhfaillí, tá sé fá scrúdú ag mo Roinn mar rud práinneach; an teolas agus an taithí a tháinig as tionscnamh Sráid Rutland, beidh siad fíor-úsáideach má bhíonn scéim den tsort á hullmhú arís d'aon cheantar a bhfuil soláthar speisialta oideachais riachtanach ann chun mí-bhuntáistí sóisialta a leigheas.

Deintear airgead a sholáthar d'oideachas den dara leibhéal i ndá Vóta, Vóta 32—Meánoideachas—agus Vóta 33—Gairmoideachas.

Cé nach ionann bunús don chóras meánoideachais agus don chóras gairmoideachais, mar sin féin an foirleathnú a deineadh sna deich mbliana deireannacha seo chun deis níos fearr ar oideachas a chur ar fáil do gach páiste, ba spreagadh é chun an dá chóras a thabhairt i gcomhréir le chéile le go ndéanfaí an úsáid is mó is féidir dár n-acmhainní.

Tá soláthar déanta sna Meastacháin don Mheánoideachas agus don Ghairmoideachas do phostanna breise múinteoireachta a éiríonn as an bhfeabhas ar an gcoibhneas daltaímúinteoirí a tugadh isteach ó thosach na scoil-bhliana 1977-78. Feabhsaíodh an coibhneas sin ó 20:1 go 19:1 i gcás na meánscoileanna agus ó 17.5:1 go 16.5:1 i gcás na ngairmscoileanna. Níl príomh-oide ná leas-phríomhoide na scoile, ná na múinteoirí treoir i gcás scoileanna a bhfuil 250 nó níos mó daltaí iontu le cur san áireamh maidir leis an gcoibhneas seo. De thoradh na socraithe sin tá 400 post breise dá gcruthú sna méanscoileanna agus 200 post breise sna gairmscoileanna—bhí trácht ar seo ag tráth na gCeist inné freisin—rud a chosnaíonn £2,280,000 sa bhliain 1978.

Rinne mé tagairt cheana don scéim nua chun cúnamh cléireachais a chur ar fáil do bhoird bhainistíochta scoileanna náisiúnta agus d'údaráis mheánscoileanna. Tá soláthar déanta freisin, imbliana, i Vóta an Ghairmoideachais, do 280 postanna breise nach postanna múinteoireachta iad sa tseirbhís ghairmoideachais a chosnóidh £800,000 breise imbliana. Ar ndóigh, ní ceadaítear na postanna seo a líonadh ach de réir mar a deintear éileamh orthu chun riachtanaisí cruthaithe na gcostí gairmoideachais a fhreastal.

Iarrtar £95,660,000 faoi Vóta 32— méadú de £15,175,000. Siad na rudaí is mó is cúis leis an méadú ná:

(i) méadú de £122,500 ins na deontas chapataíochta (fo-mhírcheann A1);

(ii) méadú de £3,167,700 ins na deontais-i-leith táillí teagaisc (fo-mhírcheann A2);

(iii) méadú de £6,172,000 sa deontas-i-leith tuarastal incremeintiúil (fo-mhírcheann B);

(iv) méadú de £314,000 do na scrúdúcháin (fo-mhírcheann C);

(v) médú de £2,416,000 do chostais reatha scoileanna coimsitheacha agus scoileanna pobail (fo-mhírcheann H1);

(vi) méadú de £3,295,000 i leith deontas tógála agus costas caipitil meánscoileanna, scoileanna coimsitheacha agus scoileanna pobail (fo-mhírcheann H2).

Le héifeacht ó 1 Eanáir 1978, údaraíodh na harduithe seo leanas ins na deontais bhreise a íoctar leis na scoileanna atá sa scéim saoroideachais iarbhunscoile:—

(a) scoláirí lae—ardú deontais ó £50 go £66.50 ins an

(b) scoileanna aíochta—an tardú céanna ó £50 go £66.50 ins an deontas i leith táille teagaisc i gcás daltaí i scoileanna nach mó ná £385 an táille iomlán aíochta iontu, do b'é £368 an uasteora táillí roimh 1 Eanáir 1978.

(c) daltaí ó oileáin nó ó áiteanna iargúlta lasmuigh de raon na seirbhísí iompair, is féidir leo cúnamh speisialta a fháil i leith taillí aíochta, chomh maith leis na deontais ag (b) thuas, ach na rialacha cuí a chomhlíonadh.

Na méadaithe seo, agus an soláthar atá le déanamh do dhaltaí breise sna scoileanna atá sa scéim saoroideachais is cúis leis an ardú de os cionn £3.1 milliúin i bhfo-mhírcheann A2. An tárdú a meastar i líon na ndaltaí aitheanta is cúis leis an méadú de £122,500 i leith deontas caipitíochta i bhfo-mhírcheann A1.

Méadú de £6,172,000 atá á dhéanamh ar an soláthar i leith tuarastal incremeintiúil, (fó-mhírcheann B). Siad na nithe is cúis leis ná:—

—an chomhaontú náisiúnta pá, 1977, agus na socraithe a bhain le pá chothrom, go bhfuil costas iomlán bliana ina leith le níoc sa bhliain seo;

—costas 400 múinteoirí breise a bheidh ag teastáil don líon méadaithe daltaí a meastar;

—costas 400 múinteóirí breise a ceapfar chun an coibhneas idir daltaí is múinteoirí a ísliú ó 20:1 go 19:—mar a shocraigh mise an bhliain seo caite.

Meastar go méadófar líon na ndaltaí ó 193,000 faoi láthair go timpeall 200,000 i Mí Meán Fhómhair seo chugainn.

An méadú de £314,000 san soláthar le h-aghaidh scrúdúchán, éiríonn sé as ardaithe ins na rátaí a íoctar i leith marcáil páipéirí agus i leith feitheóireacht i scrúduithe na meánteistiméireachta agus na hardteistiméireachta agus as ardaithe ins na costais taistil is aíochta a bhaineann leis na scrúdúcháin. Meastar freisin go mbeidh méadú de 1.5 faoin gcéad ins an líon daltaí a chuirfidh isteach ar na scrúdúcháin seo i gcomórtas le líon na bliana 1977. An bhliain sin, chuaidh 48,340 daltaí faoi scrúdú na meánteistiméircachta agus chuaigh 35,268 daltaí scoile maidir le 7,777 iarrthóirí eile— is dóigh liom go bhfuil an figiúir sin ana-thábhachtach—faoi scrúdú na hardteistiméireachta.

Imbliana, don chéad uair, is ó Ath Luain a riarfar na scrúdúcháin seo, mar aon leis na scrúdúcháin teastais do ghairm-chúrsaí lae, na scrúdúcháin ceirde agus céard-eolaíochta, na scrúdúcháin do scoláirí oíche i ngairmscoileanna, scrúdúcháin lucht Oifig an Phoist agus na scrúdúcháin bhreise do phrintísigh, a thagann faoin Vóta Gairmoideachais. D'aistrigh brainse na scrúdúchán agus aonad atáirgthe na Roinne Oideachais go hAth Luain i Mí Dheireadh Fómhair seo chaite.

Tá £2,146,000 níos mó ag teastáil imbliana i leith costas reatha ins na scoileanna coimsitheachta agus na scoileanna pobail, (fo-mhírcheann H1) toisc go bhfuil níos mó scoileanna ann, níos mó múinteoirí, agus toisc costas iomlán an chomhaontaithe náisiúnta pá, rud iomlán as 1977 le seasamh i 1977, agus costas iomlán pá cothrom, le seasamh imbliana—sé sin, 1978.

Faoi láthair tá 15 scoileanna coimsitheacha agus 24 scoileanna pobail ann, a fhreastalaíonn do 20,300 daltaí. I Mí Meán Fhómhair 1977, thosnuigh ceithre scoil nua phobail ag obair—i mBéal Átha hAmhnais, Co. Mhuigheo, i nGráinseach Séim, Co. Loch Garman, agus ins na Domhnaí agus i nGearradh an Uisce, nó Springfield, i gCo. Átha Cliath, maraon le scoil nua choimsitheach—an scoil sinnsearach i mBaile Munna, Áth Cliath. Tiocfaidh dhá scoil nua phobail i bhfeidhm i 1978 sa Tulach, i gCo. Cheatharlach agus sa Sean-Bhadhún, nó Old Bawn, i gCo. Átha Cliath. Meastar go méadóidh an líon daltaí ins na scoileanna coimsitheacha agus pobail de thuairim is 1,800 faoi Mheán Fhómhair seo chugainn.

Beartaítear £3,295,000 breise, sin méadú de 36 faoin gcéad a chur ar fáil i leith deontas tógála agus costas eile chaipitil a bhaineann le meánscoileanna agus le scoileanna choimsitheacha agus pobail (fo-mhírcheann H2). Ceithre milliúin puint atá á sholáthar do na meánscoileanna, agus úsáidfear é chun deontais tógála a íoc i leith tuairim is 30 meánscoil a bhfuil tógáil ar siúl cheana ionnta, agus tuairim is 55 eile a mbeidh tógáil ag tosnú iontu i rith na bliana 1978.

Tá soláthar caipitil de £8,455,000, sin méadú de £3,245,000, nó 62.4 faoin gcéad ar an soláthar a deineadh anuraidh, á chur ar fáil do scoileanna coimsitheacha agus pobail. As an airgead sin, íocfar:—

—fuíollach costas tógála na scol atá críochnaithe cheana, nó le bheith críochnaithe imbliana;

—costais a éireoidh as an tógáil, agus feistiú 11 scoileanna nua pobail atá tosnaithe nó a thosnóidh i 1978;

—costais réamh-phleanála i leith sraith eile de chúig scoileanna pobail;

—costais shuíomh.

Vóta 33—£53,863,000 an t-iomlán atá ag teastáil don Vóta seo, sin £4,990,000 níos mó ná anuraidh. Seo iad na rudaí is cúis leis an méadú:

(1) £3,975,000 breise le haghaidh deontas do na coistí gairmoideachais, fo-mhírcheann A;

(2) méadú de £43,000 i gcostas na Scrúdúchán fo-mhírcheann F;

(3) £133,000 sa bhreis i leith íocaíochtaí aoisliúntais fo-mhírcheann C;

(4) ardú de £50,000 ins na híocaíochtaí a deintear faoi Alt 51 (6) den Acht Oideachais Ghairme Beatha, 1930 fo-mhírcheann H;

(5) £1,147,100 breise i leith chostais reatha na gCéard-Choláistí Réigiúnacha fo-mhírcheann I.1.

Is é an fáth go bhfuil £3,975,000 breise á lorg agam le haghaidh deontais do na coistí gairmoideachais ná go bhfuil na costais breise pá seo le seasamh imbliana:—

(a) postanna breise múinteoireachta a éiríonn as an laghdú sa choibhneas daltaí/múinteoirí dár thagair mé cheana.

(b) cruthú 280 post breise—nach postanna múinteoireachta iad—sa tseirbhís ghairmoideachais.

(c) iomlán bliana de chostas an chomhaontaithe náisiúnta pá, 1977 agus costas pá chothrom a chur i bhfeidhm.

(d) méadú ar chostais sholuis is teasa, fearais bhreise, agus chothú is athnuachan treallaimh.

Tá 250 scoileanna gairmoideachais den dara leibhéal ann, agus freastalaíonn siad do thuairim is 72,600 daltaí lán-aimsire. Tá5,420 múinteoirí lán-aimsire ar fhostú iontu, maille le 1930 daoine nach múinteoirí iad. Tugann múinteoirí páirt-aimsire tuairim is 470,000 uaireannta teagaisc sa bhliain.

Is gá an soláthar do scrúdúcháin (fo-mhírcheann F) a mhéadú toisc go bhfuil rátaí níos aoirde ann imbliana i leith ceapadh agus marcáil páipéirí agus i leith feitheóireacht na scrúdúchán, agus go bhfuil costaisí taistil, aíochta agus eile ardaithe freisin.

Tá méadú le £133,000 ar an soláthar is gá a dhéanamh d'íocaíochtaí i leith Aoisliúntais (fo-mhírcheann G) toisc go mbeidh ardaithe pinsin ag dul do na daoine atá ar phinsean cheana agus toisc go mbeidh aiscí agus pinsin níos mó ag na daoine a bheidh ag éirí as imbliana, de bharr méadaithe tuarastail faoin gComhaontú Náisiúnta Pá, 1977.

An £50,000 breise a theastaíonn d'íocaí faoi alt 51 (6) den Acht Oideachais Ghairme Beatha, 1930, fo-mhírcheann H, éiríonn sé as méadú i líon na niasacht a thógann údaráis rátúcháin d'fhonn deontais tógála a thabhairt do choistí gairmoideachais.

Tá an soláthar i leith costas reatha na gceard-choláistí réigiúnacha (fo-mhírcheann L1) £1,147,100 níos mó ná anuraidh toisc;

(a) gur tugadh aithint don coláiste teicniúil i dTrálí mar cheardcholáiste réigiúnach le héifeacht ó 1 Meán-Fhómhair, 1977;

(b) gur cuireadh go mór le ceithre cinn de na coláistí eile;

(c) gur ceadaíodh postanna breise múinteoireachta de bharr méadú i líon na mac-léinn ins na coláistí;

(d) gurb éigean soláthar do chosta an Chomhaontaithe Náisiúnta Pá 1977, agus do chostas pá chothrom;

(e) solus is teas, leabhair, ábhar ranga, deisiúcháin, fearas agus eile a bheith níos costaisí.

Tá naoi gcinn de cheard-choláistí réigiúnacha á reachtáil ag coistí gairmoideachais, i gCeatharlach, i Leitir Cheanainn, i nGaillimh, in Ath Luain, i nDún Dealgan, i bPort Láirge, i Sligeach, i gCorcaigh agus i dTrálí, agus tá tuairim is 3,900 mac-léinn lán-aimsire cláraithe iontu. Is é is cuspóir do na coláistí seo cúrsaí oideachais a chur ar fáil a fhónfaidh do riachtanaisí saothair i dtionscail agus i dtráchtáil, go háirithe ar an dtaobh teicniúil de.

Tá 880 múinteoirí lán-aimsire ar fhostú ins na coláistí, maille le 450 eile nach múinteoirí iad. Tugtar thart ar 35,500 uaireanta pháirt-aimsire teaguisc iontu.

Tá laghdú de £250,000 ins an soláthar atá á dhéanamh do dheontais tógála agus costaisí chaipitil na gcéardcholáistí réigiúnacha. Tarlaíonn sé seo de bharr gur chríocnuigh obair leithnithe na gcoláistí i nDún Dealgan, i nGaillimh, i Sligeach agus i bPort Láirge i 1977. Tosnófar imbliana ar obair leithnithe na gcoláistí in Ath Luain, i gCeatharlach agus i Leitir Cheanainn. Beartáitear freisin ríomháin a chur isteach ins na coláistí. Tá soláthar déanta ins na meastacháin don dá fhorbairt seo.

Iarrtar £1,338,000 faoi Vóta 34, sé sin méadú de £134,000. Tá £40,000 breise ag teastáil i leith deontas do na hionaid chónaitheacha (fo-mhírcheann A), agus £80,000 breise i leith chaipitil fo-mhírcheann E). Is iad na hionaid chónaitheacha atá i gceist sa Vóta seo, iad sin atá deimhnithe faoi Achtanna na Leanaí chun críche leanaí a thógáil faoi chúram. Ábhar sásaimh é go bhfuil an líon leanaí a bhfuil cúram cónaitheach riachtanach ina gcás ag laghdú go rialta le blianta anuas— 1,020 atá ins na hionaid anois i gcomórtas le 2,450 sa bhliain 1968.

Astu sin atá ins na hionaid faoi láthair, cuireadh 440 isteach iontu arna gcimiú ins na cúirteanna, agus roinntear na costais ina leith siúd idir mo Roinn-se agus an túdarás áitiúil lena mbaineann. Na boird sláinte a chuir an 570 eile i gcúram. Tá soláthar á dhéanamh sa mheastachán d'ardú san deontas capataíochta go £32.50 i leith gach leanbh le héifeacht ó 1 Feabhra 1978. Tá san áireamh san bhfigiúir seo an breis-chosta atáag ag gabháil le cothú leanbh, maille le méadú i bpá na fóirne.

Tá soláthar déanta sa mheastachán chomh maith do na cúrsaí inseirbhíse i gcúram leanbh i gCill Choinnigh agus i mBaile Átha Cliath, cúrsaí a fhónann do lucht fóirne na nionad agus na scoileanna a thagann faoi mo Roinn agus iad a thagann faoin Roinn Sláinte chomh maith. Cáilítear 45 mac-léinn ins na cúrsaí sin gach bliain.

Fó-mhírcheann é den Vóta, baineann sé le costais reatha na scoileanna chónaithe speisialta do bhuachaillí a seoltar isteach ag na cúirteanna. Is ar bhonn meastachán costais a maoinítear na scoileanna seo. Tá méadú beag déanta sa soláthar imbliana de bharr costais a bheith ag ardú.

Is chun scoileanna speisialta a thógáil agus a fheistiú, agus chun tithe do ghrúpaí beaga a thógáil ag na hionaid chónaitheacha, an soláthar caipitil sa Vóta seo. Ar na beartais is mó tá athtógáil na scoile speisialta i gCluain Meala—scoil Naomh Iosef— a bheidh ag tosnú imbliana, agus scoileanna nua daingne atá á bpleanáil faoi láthair.

Tá ag méadú ar imní an phobail faoi fhadhb na ciontachta imeasc ógánach, fadhb a bhí faoi staidéar ag dhá choiste a raibh bun leathan fúthu—Coiste Henchy a chuir tuarascáil ar fáil maidir le soláthar aire d'ógchiontóirí, agus an "Task Force on Child Care Services" a bhfuil tuarascáil interim faighte uaidh.

Fadhb an-chasta í, ach is léir go bhfuil baint ag toscaí an teaghlaigh agus ag coinníollacha sóisialta léi. Ábhar buartha é i saol an lae inniu go bhfuil tuismitheoirí ann nach bhfuil ábalta nó toilteanach aire cheart a thabhairt dá bpáistí agus smacht a choinneáil orthu, is go dtuiteann sé ar an Stát ansin, de bharr na ndualgas a leagann an Bunreacht air, iarracht a thabhairt ar áit na dtuismitheoirí sin a líonadh. Tá dualgas tábhachtach ar an Aire Oideachais ina leith seo, maidir le cúram cónaitheach agus oideachas a chur ar fáil do leanaí a seoltar ó na cúirteanna arna gcimiú. Tá trí scoil mar seo ann faoi láthair a fhreastalaíonn do 200 leanbh, mar atá Scoil Naomh Labhráis, Fionnglais—tá aonad coinneála faoi athchur agus measúnaithe taobh leis agus glaotar Lár-Ionad na Leanbh, Fionnglais, ar an iomlán—Scoil Naomh Iosef, Cluain Meala, agus Scoil Ard Mhuire, Lusca. Tá sé mar aidhm ag na scoileanna sin stáid íocshláinteach a chruthú ina mbeidh foireann oilte in acmhainní éagsúla ag obair as láimh a chéile chun an leanbh a thabhairt ar a leas. Tugtar páirt san obair seo dá mhuintir féin an oiread agus is féidir. Tá sé sin cruthaithe i leith oideachais i gcás Rutland Street freisin.

Faoi mar a léirigh Coiste Henchy agus an Tasc-Fhórsa ina dtuarascála, tá líon áirithe leanaí do-rannacha ann nach féidir riaradh orthu ins na scoileanna speisialta atá anois ann. As teaghlaigh mhíshona dóibh de ghnáth; diúltaíonn siad do gach lámh chúnta, agus ní thaispeánann siad go bhfuil tuiscint ar bith acu do ohearta daoine eile. Má cuirtear i scoileanna speisialta iad, teitheann siad arís is arís, sin nó cuireann siad coiscriú faoi na leanaí eile go dtí nach féidir leis an scoil, ar deireadh, iad a choinneáil. Is minic daoine fásta gan scrupall ag breith buntáiste orthu, agus á milleadh tuille. Tá sé riachtanach soláthar ar leith a dhéanamh do na leanaí seo. Is féidir nach mbeadh an dara rogha ann ach iad a ordú isteach le haghaidh tréimhse ghairid cheartaithe i scoil daingean nach féidir leo teitheadh aisti.

Ins na tuarascála sin go ndearna mé tagairt dóibh cheana moltar go gcuirfear dhá scoil den tsórt sin ar fáil— ceann do bhuachaillí agus ceann do chailíní. Bunaíodh grúpa speisialta i mo Roinn i Mí Meán Fhómhair seo caite chun na scoileanna a phleanáil. Socraíodh go mbeadh áit do 40 i scoil na mbuachaillí, tógfar an scoil sin gar don scoil oscailte speisialta atá cheana ann ag Lusca. Is dóigh liom gur luadh an scoil inné freisin sa Teach seo. Tá an phleanáil don scoil seo go maith chun cinn. Measaim go dtosnófar ar an obair thógála i samhradh na bliana 1979 agus go mbeidh an scoil réidh faoi fhómhar na bliana 1980. I gcás na scoile nua do chailíní, tá suíomh á lorg faoi láthair.

Leagfar amach dian-chlár aire is oideachais ins na scoileanna seo le hintinn dearcadh an linbh a athrú sa chaoi go mbeidh sé in ann féinsmacht a bheith aige in áit smacht ón taobh amuigh a bheith de dhith air. Tá sé sin an-thábhachtach ar fad de réir na noideachasóirí agus de réir na céille. An cur chuige céanna atá i bhfeidhm cheana ins na scoileanna speisialta, sé sin, daoine le saineolais éagsúla ag obair mar fhoirinn, beidh sé ag teastáil don chlár seo, a bhéas faoi cheannas na Rannóige Oideachais Speisialta dem' Roinn. An grúpa speisialta atá i mbun pleanála na bhfoirgneamh, tá an chomhairle is fearr dá bhfuil ar fáil faighte aca. Leagfar amach na foirgnimh ar bhealach so-athruitheach, le go mbeifear in ann teiripí éagsúla agus cineálacha éagsúla oideachais a fhorbairt chun freastal ar riachtanais gach leanbh ar leith. Beidh sé tábhachtach go mbeidh páirt ag na túismitheoirí sa chlár, faoi mar tá ins na scoileanna eile. Faoi mar atá luaite agam cheana féin, molann na hoideachasóirí é fiú amháin nuair nach bhfuil na daltaí seo i gceist.

Os a choinne sin, ní mór luí air gur fearr i bhfad leanbh a choinneáil ó choirpeacht ná é a theilgeadh isteach i scoil speisialta dá fheabhas í. Bá chóir dom a rá ina leith seo go bhfuil líon áirithe leanbh ann atá i ngar don choiriúlacht agus nach ngéilleann d'iarrachtaí na seirbhísí leasa agus seirbhísí charthanacha eile ar a son. Sa mhéid gurbh fhearr riar do leanaí áirithe den chineál sin laistigh dena gnáth-phobail a bhfuil siad iontu, tá mo Roinnse, i gcomhair le grúpaí atá ag obair don aos óg i mBaile Átha Cliath, i gCorcaigh agus i Luimneach, tar éis bheartais phíolóiteachta a bhunú faoin ainm "Teangmháil leis an Aos Óg", nó "Youth Encounter" sa Bhéarla.

Is iarracht é gach beartas acu seo chun clár iomlán a sholáthar a dhéanfaidh forbairt na leanaí seo a iompó i dtreo a leasa. Is cuid den gclár seo forbairt intinne, ach ní cur-chuige na scoile a úsáidtear. Tá forbairt i bpearsantacht, ins na scileanna sóisialta agus i ndea-iompar an linbh tábhachtach fosta. Cuirtear céardoiliúint ar fáil, agus leagtar treise ar chothú dearcadh folláin sa duine óg maidir le obair, maraon le raon maith bun-scileanna a mhúineadh do. Tá feitheoireacht á dhéanamh ar na beartais go ceann ceithre bliana, go bhfeicfear an mbeidís sásúil, mar mhalairt ar chúram aíochta, i gcás leanaí ar leith.

£38,546,000 atá á iarraidh faoi Vóta 35, Ardoideachas, sin méadú glan de £4,466,000 ar an soláthar a deineadh sa bhliain 1977.

Seo iad na neithe is mó is cúis leis an méadú: (1) £1,484,200 breise ins na deontais reatha d'ollscoileanna, do choláistí agus d'institiúidí ainmnithe ardoideachais. Tagann an costas seo faoi fho-mhírcheann A.2; (2) £901,600 breise i leith deontas tógála agus costas caipitil do na h-institiúidí céanna sin ar fad. Tagann sé sin faoi fho-mhírcheann A.3; (3) £100,000 breise i leith troscáin is treallaimh do na h-Ollscoileanna agus d'institiúidí eile a thagann faoin Údarás um Ard-oideachas; (4) £1,760,000 breise i leith costas caipitil na n-institiúd tríú leibhéal nach maoinítear tré'n Údarás um Ardoideachas. (Fo-mhírcheann E.1).

Tá £28,871,000 á chur ar fáil don údarás chun deontais reatha a íoc le hollscoileanna, le coláistí agus le hinstitiúidí ainmnithe-sin, creid é nó ná creid, 75 faoin gcéad den soláthar iomlán atá i gceist sa Vóta Ardoideaohais. Cuireann an túdarás comhairle ar fáil i dtaobh cúrsaí airgid agus costas reatha gach institiúid. Méadaithe tuarastail faoin gComhaontú Náisiúnta Pá, 1977, agus ardaithe sna costais ilghnéitheacha eile, is mó is cúis leis an mbreis atá á iarraidh thar mar cuireadh ar fáil sa bhliain a chuaigh tharainn.

£5,000,000 atá á chur ar fáil i leith deontais thógála agus costas caipitil do na hollscoileanna agus d'institiúid eile a thagann faoin Údarás um Ardoideachas-sin méadú de £901,600 nó 22 faoin gcéad ar an méid a tugadh anuraidh. Tá soláthar san airgead sin d'íocaíochtaí a bhaineann leis na hoibreacha seo leanas:

—uaim-líonadh ag an leabharlainn ealaíon-tráchtála i gColáiste na hOllscoile, Baile Átha Cliath.

—foirgneamh ealaíon-tráchtála i gColáiste na hOllscoile, Gaillimh, a osclófar i mí Dheireadh Fómhair, 1978.

—foirgneamh ealaíne i gColáiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath a osclófar i 1978.

—foirgneamh ealaíne i Mánuat.

Beartaítear tosnú ar na hoibreacha nua seo:

—halla ilfheidhmeannach tionóil i gColáiste na hOllscoile, Baile Átha Cliath.

—Leabharlann nua, trí Halla Léachtaí agus athchóiriú áirithe eile i gColáiste na hOllscoile, Corcaigh.

—mion-bheartais éagsúla i gColáiste na Tríonóide.

—oibreacha athchóirithe agus saoráidí spóirt i Mánuat, agus

—saoráidí spóirt i gColáiste na hOllscoile, Gaillimh.

De thoradh méadú de £1,760,000 san deontas-i-gcabhair i leith costais thógála agus costais eile chaipitil d'institiúid tríú-leibhéal nach maoinítear tré'n Údarás um Ardoideachas, is féidir £850,000 a dháileadh i leith obair thógála ag an ospidéal agus scoil fhiaclóireachta i gCorcaigh, agus £1,450,000 i leith Choláiste Oideachais Thuamhan.

Tá an tospidéal agus scoil fhiachlóireachta i gCorcaigh á thógáil anois ar an láithreán céanna leis an ospidéal réigiúnach ginearálta nua; níl ach caoga slat eatorthu, sa chaoi gur féidir lán-úsáid a bhaint as saoráidí a bhéas i bpáirt. Sean-áit neamhoiriúnach atá in úsáid faoi láthair. Glacfar isteach le 25 macléinn gach bliain sa bhfoirgneamh nua, a chosnóidh £1.5 milliúin de réir phraghasanna an lae inniu, agus a bheidh réidh, de réir mar mheastar, faoi Lúnasa, 1979.

I Mí Eanáir 1977 tosnaíodh ar an obair thógála don dara céim i bhforbairt Choláiste Oideachais Thuamhan. Séard a bhéas sa dara céim seo, ionad náisiúnta chun múinteoirí a oiliúint in ábhair mar adhmadóireacht, miotalóireacht, foirgníocht, tuatheolaíocht agus eolaíocht ghinearálta. Meastar go gcríochnófar an obair roimh dheireadh na bliana 1978 nó go luath i 1979 agus tá £1,250,000 á chur ar fáil di.

Mar fhocal scoir, ba mhaith liom tagairt do Chomhairle Náisiúnta na gCáilíochtaí Oideachais. Ba mhaith liom a thabhairt chun cuimhne gurb é Fianna Fáil a bhunaigh é agus gur tháinig sé ann faoi threoir ábalta Phádraig Uí Fhachtna a bhí romham ina Aire Oideachais. Is mór an tanró a ndeachaigh an chomhairle tríd san achar ghearr a bhfuil sé ann; ina ainneoin sin d'éirigh leis obair mhaith a dhéanamh. Bhí sé i gceist ar dtús go mbeadh freagracht air maidir le damhachtana oideachais ag leibhéil theastais, diploma agus céime.

Nuair a thráchtaim ar anró a bheith ar an gcomhairle, sé is mó atá i gceist agam an chumhacht chun céimeanna a bhronnadh a bheith bainte de ag an gComhrialtas Náisiúnta. Ba mhór an botún é sin, agus ní raibh aon mhoill orainne ag cur an scéil sin ina cheart arís. Ba mhaith liom dhá dháta a bhfuil tábhacht leo maidir le ceartú an bhotúin sin a bheith i gcuntas. Ar 29 Iúil seo 'ghaibh tharainn, fógraíodh go raibh sé ar intinn an Rialtais cumhacht bronnta céime a thabhairt ar ais don chomhairle. Annsin, ar 18 Samhain, d'fhógair mé gurb é an chomhairle a bheadh mar údarás bronnta na gcéimeanna i leith na bhforas náisiúnta um ardoideachas i Luimneach agus i mBaile Átha Cliath, i leith Choláiste Oideachais Thuamhan agus i leith na gCéard-Choláistí Réigiúin.

Ba mhaith liom a rá ag an bpointe seo, freisin, gur thug mé scéal ina dhiadh sin, ar 24 Eanáir 1978, don Choláiste Náisiúnta Ealaíne is Deartha ag rá gurab é m'intinn gurab é an NCEA freisin a bheadh freagrach as chailíochtaí do bhronnadh i leith cúrsaí oiriúnacha san gColáiste sin. Bhí cruinniú torthúil agam i mí Aibreáin le bord an choláiste agus do chuireamar an cheist faoi chéimeanna chomh maith le ceisteanna eile, trí chéile ag an gcruinniú sin. Mo sheasamh ina leith sin tá sé soiléir agus, cinnte, creidim gurb é an NCEA an t-údarás cuí cáiliúcháin agus is cú áthais dom a chur in iúl don Dáil go bhfuil cainteanna ar siúl faoi láthair idir an NCAD agus an NCEA ina leith sin. Táim féin ám' choinneáil go h-iomlán ar an eolas faoin scéal sin agus tig liom a dheimhniú don Dáil go leanfaidh mé ar aghaidh dá réir.

Inár bhforógra, ghaibh muid orainn féin Bille a thabhairt isteach a chuirfeadh Comhairle Náisiúnta na gCáilíochtaí Oideachais ar bhun reachtúil. Is áthas liom a rá go bhfuil muid ag gabháil dó sin freisin.

Tá a fhios againn go maith gur cúram an-trom é ar an gcomhairle bheith ag plé le tasc chomh tábhachtach le damhachtana oideachais ag leibhéil éagsúla agus thar raon ábhar chomh leathan sin. Mar adúirt mé ar ócáid eile, is tasc é a éilíonn cruthú ó gcomhairle, agus tá an Rialtas muiníneach go dtabharfar an cruthú sin go húdarásach agus go héifeachtach.

Vóta 36—Gailearaí Náisiúnta na hÉireann: An tiomlán de £259,000 atá á sholáthar faoin Vóta seo, is méadú de £28,000 é ar an méid a cuireadh ar fáil i 1977; méadaithe i dtuarastail agus i gcostaisí riaracháin is mó is cúis leis sin. Bhí 557,000 cuairteoirí sa ghailearaí i 1977, an líon ba mhó ariamh, agus 142,000 níos mó ná i 1976. Is mian liom a rá anseo go gcuireann sé áthas orm go bhfuil na scoileanna ag cur suim sa Ghailearaí Náisiúnta thar mar a bhí riamh. Chomh maith leis na taispeántais speisialta a bhíonns sa ghailearaí féin, leanfar ar aghaidh le taispeántais pheictiúirí ag ionaid éagsúla ar fud na tíre. Tá cnuasacht de 230 portráidí a bhaineann leis an seachtú céad déag, an ochtú céad déag agus an naoiú céad déag tugtha ar iasacht ag an nGailearaí do Chaisleán Mhullach Íde, atá anois i seilbh Chomhairle Cho. Átha Cliath agus atá ar oscailt mar áit thaitneamhach don phobail. Tá tóir i gcónaí ar na turais, na léachtaí poiblí agus na coirmeacha ceoil a tionóltar sa ghailearaí.

I should also wish to refer to some matters of topical interest which have assumed greater prominence since the date when the Estimates were being prepared.

The first matter in this regard to which I would make reference relates to the deeds of trust for community schools. Deputies are aware that I am at present involved in a series of discussions with the appropriate educational organisations and it will be understood that it is not open to me to deal in detail at this stage with the matters which are under review. My statement must accordingly be in the nature of general observations in regard to the fundamental principles involved.

I would say that an advantage could accrue from the present public interest in this matter if it were to serve to place emphasis on particular aspects which may require special attention and if it were to contribute to bringing about agreement on such revisions as may be considered appropriate in the light of experience of the operation of the schools in the period since 1972-3. The meetings with the educational organisations will furnish an opportunity for identifying the major issues of concern and seek to reconcile differences of opinion.

I have considered that an identical deed of trust need not be applicable to all community schools, past, present and future. I had felt also that it might be feasible to give priority attention to completion of the deeds in the case of the original group of schools, that further discussion could take place in regard to future schools and that it might also be feasible to make revisions as agreed to at a later date in the case of deeds already signed.

It would now appear that both managerial and teacher organisations are strongly of the view that decisions in regard to existing and future schools should be taken at the same time. The discussions which are taking place with the educational organisations are accordingly being approached on that basis and every effort must be made to reach a fully comprehensive agreement as speedily as possible.

It is appropriate to point out that these schools have been operating since 1972-3 on a general basis, well known to management authorities, school associations and indeed to the public in general. They were brought into existence following public meetings at which their fundamental characteristics were fully discussed.

It seemed to be understood by all concerned that there would be boards of management composed in a particular way, selection boards, the composition of which was also known, and arrangements for the reservation of a certain number of places on the staff of schools for the communities whose members had been involved in secondary schools, which in many cases were being amalgamated with vocational schools to provide the nucleus of the new community school. On this basis it would be reasonable to expect that the finalisation of the terms of the deed of trust would represent the statement in written form of the different arrangements which had already been widely publicised and discussed and which so many interests at local level had accepted.

These interests at local level included the managerial and teachers' organisations as well as parents of the pupils of the schools involved and public representatives. It might, however, also be expected that in connection with the drawing up of the final form of the deed the experience gained since the establishment of the schools would be taken into account in arriving at agreed adjustments in certain provisions of the proposed document.

It would be of particular concern to me at this stage if demands were made which would question the whole concept of community schools and the basis on which they would be administered. The fact has to be adverted to that the various parties involved in individual schools which have been receiving pupils since 1972-3 entered into commitments with each other in relation to the establishment of these schools by virtue of their participation in them whether as managers, teachers or the State.

I have made it clear since I assumed the office of Minister for Education that I am more than anxious to hear the views of all the parties concerned on the question as to how the terms of the agreements relating to the community schools might be enshrined in the deed of trust. Revisions should be feasible on the basis of the experience acquired to date. We must also consider views that may not have been fully evaluated at the time of the establishment of the schools or which may have since arisen. The present concern should be how best to achieve the purposes for which these schools have been established, that is, to provide the best educational opportunities by way of range of curriculum options for the pupils of each locality and for the functioning of the schools as an integral part of the community of an area. I am confident that all the parties involved will approach the matter with very great concern for the major issue of the present and future organisation of the educational system.

There has recently been public comment on the level of the capitation grants to national schools. The present scheme was introduced in 1975 following discussions with the managerial associations who pressed for such a scheme instead of the previous schemes ofad hoc grants for heating and cleaning, painting of schools and the provision of teaching materials. A selection of accounts submitted at the time by the managerial bodies and relating to the school year 1971-72 showed that the average expenditure was £6 per pupil, of which the parishes provided £4.85 and the State grants £1.15. Since that time, the State grants have increased to £8 but the parish contribution, instead of increasing in line with the fall in the value of money, appears to have in general fallen to £2 which is the minimum local contribution.

Like everybody else, boards of management must establish their priorities and the first priority must surely be to ensure that sufficient money is set aside to heat the classrooms during the winter time. In one case recently, which attracted a lot of publicity, it was found that up to the time of the much-publicised closing of the school for lack of heating oil they had actually spent about £200 less on oil than in the previous year although the grants had been increased by 33? per cent in the meantime. It was also found that they had paid out a very substantial sum of money which as we understand it in the Department was not properly chargeable to the school account at all. I shall continue to strive to get as much of available financial resources as I can for education generally, and for primary schools in particular, but I am not helped by a situation in which boards of management do not apear to give due consideration to priorities in the allocation of the funds at their disposal.

It is also appropriate that I should make special mention of the size of classes in national schools. The Fianna Fáil election manifesto gave high priority to the reduction of over large classes in these schools and promised to reduce maximum class size to 40 as quickly as possible and to 32 eventually. Since I became Minister for Education I have given clear evidence of my commitment to the achievement of that aim. In order to speed up the process of reducing class size, additional graduates under the special trainee teacher scheme were recruited and arrangements were made also to increase the intake of graduates into the Colleges of Education under the ordinary graduates scheme. The major extensions which I outlined already which are in progress in the three large Colleges of Education will ensure a continued high output from the three year B.Ed course in the years ahead. This year, as I have already announced, substantial improvements are being made in the pupil/teacher ratio in the large schools, namely those with nine teachers or more. These improvements will come into effect in July 1978 in schools with 15 teachers and upwards and in January 1979 in schools with nine to 14 teachers. The reason for the later date in the case of the nine to 14 teacher schools is that the course for the special graduate scheme people will not be completed until December 1978. In addition, I am making available a number of extra posts for remedial teachers.

All of this is in addition to the 300 extra posts which will be necessary to cope with the staffing of new schools and increased enrolments in existing schools. In summary, then, an additional 900 teaching posts are being created in national schools this year.

I have already referred to the provision of £1.2 million to meet the cost of clerical assistance in the larger national and secondary schools. All in all, therefore, I think I may fairly claim I have acted quickly and effectively in bringing relief to the schools which have the great bulk of the over large classes.

As regards classroom accommodation for the new teachers, a lot of schools have spare accommodation as they have passed the peak child population in their areas. As I pointed out yesterday at Question Time, this happened very often in central city areas which need special treatment. Where extra accommodation is necessary, this will be provided as quickly as possible by my Department and the Office of Public Works. In the meantime, it may be possible to deploy the additional teacher usefully within the limits of the existing accommodation by using team teaching or some variant of it. In other cases, it may be possible to rent suitable additional accommodation as a temporary measure and the Department will back this.

I would not like to leave this question of improved pupil/teacher ratios without stressing the importance of the proper development of the teaching force. Teachers are a costly and a skilled resource and it is very important that they should be deployed to best advantage. With the additional appointments being made this year, we will have an overall pupil/teacher ratio of 29.5:1, that is, the Department are paying the salary of one teacher for every 30 pupils in national schools. It is worth reflecting on that figure.

This overall ratio compares more than favourably with that in the most advanced countries. The distribution of the teachers over the system as a whole is, however, very uneven. We have a large number of small schools in which I there is a teacher for every ten or 15 pupils, while in the large urban schools a teacher has to cope with classes of 40 pupils. This problem of a fair distribution of the services of the available teachers—and of a reasonable return for the financial cost involved —must continue to receive due consideration.

I have arranged that an up-to-date review should be made as a matter of urgency of the accommodation facilities in national schools. We had an Adjournment Debate on this recently. The last census of such accommodation and facilities made by the Department through questionntaires completed by principal teachers was in September 1974. As I told Deputy Collins on the Adjournment Debate I have initiated my own. At that time the position about sanitation, heating and drinking water was as follows:

Sanitation: 3,301 schools has indoor or outdoor flush toilets; heating: 3,050 schools had oil fired central heating or electric heating; drinking water: 3,003 schools had a supply of drinking water available.

Since the 1974 census, a number of sub-standard schools have been replaced either directly or by central schools in which two or more were amalgamated. In other cases, improvement works have been carried out. The situation in relation to the availability of basic amenities must, accordingly, have been substantially improved. However, in a system which goes back to 1830, it is inevitable that some schools will have served for a long time and that the whole stock of schools cannot be replaced in a short period of time. We cannot be complacent as long as there is one substandard school in the system.

Generally, the schools which lack modern facilities are small one and two teacher schools. In an effort to speed up improvements in these schools, the Department issued a circular in August 1977 to boards of management authorising the carrying out of essential improvements to such small schools through a procedure which obviated delays to the maximum degree. The works grant-aided in this way include the installation of water flushed sanitation, the provision of adequate heating and lighting, the improvement of play spaces and the making good of minor structural defects. The grant is normally two-thirds of the cost but a larger grant may be paid in a deprived area.

The issue of school amalgamations necessarily arises in this context. Most of the schools which are the subject of complaint are schools which have been the subjects of amalgamation proposals at one time or another. While I fully understand the attachment of parents to small local schools, I feel that a lot of the opposition by parents to proposed amalgamations—not all but a lot—may not be in the best interests of their children. New one or two teacher schools will not be built except in quite exceptional circumstances, for example, in the case of islands or Protestant children who would otherwise have to travel an inordinate distance to another Protestant school.

Much emphasis has been placed on the social factor as distinct from the educational considerations, but it has been my own experience that a central school in a rural parish strengthens parish unity and cohesion and may be a more attractive centre for community activities than a small outdated school can ever be in a section of the parish. I would therefore appeal especially to parents to take stock of the situation and to give adequate consideration to the educational interests of their children.

I have no wish to force central schools on areas where they are not wanted, but as an educationalist and, indeed, as a realist in terms of the resources available to us, I am satisfied that in many instances the problems of children accommodated in unsuitable and outdated schools may only be satisfactorily solved on the basis of creating a good central school. In that way fully modern facilities can be made available to all the children of rural Ireland, and the larger schools have great advantages in terms of teaching the full curriculum and having the full range of audio-visual and other mechanical aids.

Ba mhaith liom cúpla focal a rá anois are dheontais chaipataíochta ar son costais reatha na scoileanna náisiúnta lán-Ghaelacha. Do gheallamar san manifesto go gcuirfí deontais speisialta ar fáil do na scoileanna lán-Ghaelacha atá suite sa Ghalltacht. Fógraíos le déanaí go mbeifí sásta deontais a cheadú le haghaidh costais suíomh a sholáthar do na scoileanna seo. Is cor nua ar fad é seo ar an socrú a bhí ann go nuige seo faoina raibh soláthar an tsuíomh mar chúram ar an dream a bhí freagrach as bunú scoile—ualach an-trom ar fad. Ba chóir go gcabhródh sé go mór le lucht na scoileanna lán-Ghaelacha. Tá cuid mhaith acu ag feidhmiú faoi láthair in áitribh sealadacha—mar shampla, Baile Blanshéir, Ráth Cúil agus áiteanna eile. Ba cheart go spreagfadh sé dreamanna eile chun a leithéid de scoileanna a chur ar bun. Táimid sásta lantacaíocht a thabhairt do aon dream measúil a bhíonn ag iarraidh scoil mar seo a bhunú ar choinníoll gur léir gur beartas fónta é.

Tá deacrachtaí faoi leith ag na scoileanna seo ó thaobh costais oibrithe dhe. Ní scoileanna paróiste iad sa ghnáth-chiall agus níl aon phobal aitiúil ar fáil dóibh chun an ranníocaíocht áitiúil a sholáthair ach tá dream díograiseach taobh thiar dena scoileanna agus cuid mhaith acu ann agus fonn orthu na scoileanna seo a bhunú. Tá áthas orm a fhógairt go n-íocfar bónas de 50 faoin gcéad le cois gnáth rata an deontais chaipitíochta na scoileanna lán-Ghaelacha le héifeacht ón scoilbhliain reatha. Mar sin ráta £12 an dalta a bheidh i gceist sna scoileanna seo i gcomparáid le ráta £8 an dalta dos na gnáth scoileanna náisiúnta. Beidh scéal á thabhairt agam go luath freisin maidir le méadú sna deontais speisialta a íoctar le meán scoileanna in aicme a haon. Níl na figiúirí cruinn ar fáil fós ach is féidir liom a dheimniú gur méadú substainteach a bheidh ann.

Ba mhaith liom tagairt a dhéanamh do na scoláireachtaí a bhronnann mo Roinn-se ar bhonn torthaí an scrúduithe ardteistiméireachta gach bliain. Is iad na scoláireachtaí atá i gceist agam ná na scoláireachtaí ollscoile do mhic léinn ón nGaeltacht agus do mhic léinn a dhéanann a goúrsaí ollscoile trí mheán na Gaeilge—is é sin, fiú amháin na páistí as an nGalltacht— agus na scoláireachtaí a bhronntar i gcuimhne sínitheoirí Foróga Sheachtain na Cásca 1916. An bhliain 1974 an uair dheireannach a hardaíodh luach na scoláireachtaí sin agus tá socraithe agam a luach a leasú le héifeacht ó thosach na bliana acadúla 1978-79 mar seo a leanas: (a) Scoláireachtaí do mhic léinn ón nGaeltacht agus na scoláireachtaí chun cur ar chumas mac léinn a gcúrasí Ollscoile a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge; £780 in aghaidh na bliana do mhac léinn a bhíonn ar lóistiín agus £480 do mhac léinn a mbíonn có naí air sa bhaile; (b) Scoláireachtaí Chomóradh Sheachtain na Cásca; £830 in aghaidh na bliana do mhac léinn a bhíonn ar lóistin agus £530 do mhac léinn a mbíonn cónaí air sa bhaile.

Is ionann na leasuithe sin agus arduithe de idir 55.8 faoin gcéad agus 65.9 facin gcéad ar na luachanna a socraíodh sa bhliain 1974: (a) Scoláireachtaí ollscoile do mhic léinn ón nGaeltacht; (b) Scoláireachtaí chun cur ar chumas mac léinn cúrsaí ollscoile a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge; agus (c) scoláireachtaí Chomóradh Sheachtain na Cásca. Is é an méid a bhí le fáil sa bhliain acadúil 1972-73 faoi scéimeanna (a) agus (b) ná £400 do mhac léinn i lóistin agus £250 do mhac léinn sa bhaile; agus faoi scéim (c) bhí £450 le fáil do mhac léinn sa lóistin agus £300 do mhac léinn sa bhaile. Sin mar a thosnaigh siad san bhliain 1972-73. San bhliain acadúil 1974-75 bhí £470 le fáil do mhac léinn i lóistin agus £290 do mhac léinn sa bhaile faoi scéim (a), agus faoi scéim (b) bhí £520 le fáil do mhac léinn i lóistin agus £340 do mhac léinn sa bhaile. Tá sé orduithe againn de réir mar thaispeáin mé cheana féin.

Sin an méid atá le rá agam faoi na meastacháin i mbliana. Táim buíoch don Teach bheith ag éisteacht chom fada sin liom. Is áthas liom na meastacháin seo a mholadh don Teach.

: An Teachta E. Ó Coileáin, agus tá uair go leith aige.

: Seo í an chéad uair ó 1973 go bhfuil caoi ag Dáil Éireann meastacháin ón Roinn Oideachais a phlé go hiomlán agus cuirim fáilte rompu. Na haithrithe atá tagtha ó shin i leith tá siad beag go leor, go háirithe nuair a chuirtear iad i gcomparáid leis na h-aithrithe atá in ann dúinn sna blianta romhainn. Díreach nuair a tháining an Comh-Rialtas i gcumhaoht cuireadh deireadh le Gaeilge mar ábhar riachatancach don Mheán. Teistiméireacht agus don Ard Teistiméireacht. Tá daoine i ngleic faoi staid na Gaeilge faoi láthair agus dá bhrí sin iarraim ar an Aire Oideachais a insint dúinn go beacht a pholasaí d'athbheocaint na Gaeilge agus go háirithe céard atá ar intinn aige a dhéanamh sna scoileanna.

This is the first time since 1973 that we have had a full-scale debate on this subject, and it is very welcome. Before going into detail on a number of aspects I would like to have an overall look at the problems in education facing us. Despite the interest of the Minister and the Government in matters of education, for this year of 1978 the percentage of the current budget allocated is the lowest for ten years. This is a sad reflection on the Government if they are serious about the problems facing education. We have in the current budget the lowest percentage for ten years in 1978, and the capital side for 1977 was the lowest for ten years with the exception of the year 1971-72.

The percentage of GNP spent on voted current education is less than 5 per cent. This is a low figure. We had over 5 per cent in 1975 and 1976. Furthermore in the 1977 provision the percentage of GNP spent on voted capital services for education is the lowest for quite some time. In 1974, 1975 and 1976 the percentage was .78, .69 and .54 respectively and these figures reflect a serious position.

When I inquired about the Government's commitment to education the Minister for Economic Planning and Development in reply to a question put down by me on 9 March said, and I quote Question and reply as given in the Official Report, Volume 304, column 1311:

6. Mr. E. Collins asked the Minister for Economic Planning and Development if he will give an assurance that there will be no financial or other restrictions on expenditure as a result of the objectives stated in the recent Government White Paper; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Professor O'Donoghue: I assume that the Deputy's question is intended to refer specifically to expenditure on education. I regret that I am not in a position to give the assurance he seeks in relation to any type of expenditure, other than expenditure on debt service and like inescapable commitments....

That statement was followed logically by an interview in the current issue ofMagill with the Minister for Economic Planning and Development in which he stated that there was a possibility of cutbacks in social expenditure including education. Unfortunately, the Minister for Education does not appear to have perused that magazine yet.

Recently, too, the Taoiseach stated that there was in progress a re-assessment in relation to expenditure. A year later he seems to be concerned about the percentage of the budget that has to be financed by way of loan and he is endeavouring to ascertain what was the cost not only for Fianna Fáil but for the country, of the general election victory. The Taoiseach referred to cutbacks in the social or the non-productive areas and indicated that there might be cutbacks in that sphere. That trend is reflected again by the Minister for Finance who talks also of cutbacks. The Minister for Education has the responsibility of informing the House on what negotiations are going on with his Department in so far as cutbacks are concerned. He should tell us if there are to be cutbacks this year and, if so, in what areas the cutbacks are to be made. It is essential that we know what is happening in the Department and within the Government generally in respect of their commitment to Education.

In a way this debate marks the first anniversary of Fianna Fáil's return to office, so that it is appropriate that there be a full discussion regarding their undertaking in the field of education. Yesterday the Minister was rather airy-fairy in the House on the question of the possibility of reducing the teacher-pupil ratio and he spoke of variables that might interfere with the objective of attaining a situation in which there would be a maximum of 40 pupils in any classroom. He admitted more or less that that target would not be achieved, not only within the short term but within perhaps the life time of this Dáil. This is the first admission of a deviation from the manifesto. At any rate, the Minister was very weak in answering the questions we raised. He had every reason to answer in a weak manner because in September 1977 there were 4,122 classes of more than 40 pupils, the number of pupils involved being 175,878. It will be seen, therefore, that the task is daunting especially in terms of the class size of 32 that was referred to in the manifesto and one would have understood the manifesto to have been in the context of the life time of this Dáil.

The number of pupils in classes of more than 45, of which there are 400, is 19.055. That is a serious situation although I appreciate that, to his credit, the Minister has moved to provide extra teachers. However, I am concerned that the capital provisions in respect of the building of national schools showed only a small increase this year—from £13.5 million to £14.3 million. That seems to be a very small amount for such work and is again an indication of the lack of commitment on the part of the Government. It is necessary that there be a substantial building programme in the coming year, but the amount allocated for this purpose this year would not indicate any serious effort in this regard. I assure the Minister that we will keep a close eye on him in respect of this whole question.

I was disappointed that the Minister did not refer to the Tussing Report which was sponsored by the ESRI. This report analysed educational expenditure in terms of the past, of the present and of the future, and there can be no doubt that this analysis was undertaken in a most professional way but we have heard nothing from the Minister on the challenges that the report presents.

I should like to refer briefly to some of the conclusions of the report. In regard to the primary sector Tussing pointed out that the national school enrolment in 1974 was 521,100 and that is expected to increase by 84,100 by 1986 which would bring it to 605,200. It is pointed out that on a conservative basis the additional number of national school teachers required for that period will be 3,115. That, too, is a daunting task especially in view of the normal wastage of teachers by way of retirement and so on. The cost projections of the increase in school population, resulting from the increase generally in the population, is that in terms of 1970 constant prices, an extra amount of £28,693,000 will be required between 1974 and 1986. It has been said that in effect this will mean the necessity to double the percentage of the GNP spent on education in the next few years. Having regard to the Minister's statement it is obvious that there is not a commitment on the part of the Government to increase expenditure to that extent. This will have serious repercussions on our educational structure.

Regarding the second-level sector, the position according to Tussing is equally serious. In the period up to 1986 there will be need for an increase in 1970 constant prices terms of 107.8 per cent. In 1974 the amount spent on this sector was £39.9 million but the expenditure that will be required by 1986 will be £82.9 million. This presents a colossal challenge to the Government. In addition there will be needed in the secondary sector during that period an additional 3,611 teachers. I am satisfied that there will be many teachers available but I am not satisfied that there is a will on the part of the Government to commit themselves to ensuring that they will be employed at the second level.

At third level there is an indication of a rapid rise in the participation rate of the population, and the Minister suggests that between 1974 and 1986 there will be an increase of 36,300 participants at third level. This is a tremendous challenge to our universities, who have not expanded the number of places available over the past decade. The establishment of the regional colleges will help in some ways towards alleviating the pressures on universities. My information is that in the past 15 years the number of students taking leaving certificate has increased by 230 per cent while the number of places in the universities has only increased by 60 per cent. That is a poor show on the part of the universities. I feel that there will not be a tremendous increase in the number of university places offered over the next decade and that the onus will fall on the regional colleges to provide extra places. I will deal with the RTCs at a later date.

The Minister started by announcing a graduate teachers scheme and in doing so he nearly brought the INTO out on strike. That scheme was badly handled and the numbers instead of being 600 have now fallen to 266. The manner in which the Minister handled this scheme left a lot to be desired. It was because of a lack of consultation and understanding of the delicate problems involved that he was unable to bring in the scheme smoothly.

The INTO have notified the Minister that as and from 3 October next they will not teach in substandard schools. They mentioned a figure of 700 such schools. On the Adjournment on Tuesday night the Minister challenged that figure and said I should have researched it. I do not have the facilities to research the standards of schools and it is not my business to do so, but the manner in which he challenged the figure of the President of the INTO leads me to believe that he is questioning the integrity of those figures and is challenging the INTO in this matter. I do not believe that is the way a Ministry should be run. That should not have been said in public. I am awaiting a statement from the INTO on this and I am sure they will stand over what they said originally. I hope the manner in which the Minister is handling substandard primary schools will not lead to a dispute by next October. If it does he can bear a large part of the blame for allowing such a situation to develop.

What surprised me about the Minister's speech was the lack of forward thinking in it. No attempt was made to come to terms with the future teacher supply situation, with his intentions this year in relation to another graduate teacher scheme, if he is going to have one, and what is his position in relation to the bachelor of education positionvis-à-vis on graduates being able to do the M.Ed. and be registered as teachers. This has evolved from the three year course for primary teachers, and I hope the Bachelor of Education degree would be seen to be on equal standing with any other bachelor degree from our universities. It should not be allowed to be seen as a second class degree. The onus is primarily on the universities but it is also on the Minister to ensure that the standard of that degree would be raised so that it is of equal value as, say, a Bachelor of Arts degree.

The new curriculum has been in use for a few years and now is the time to have a review of its effectiveness and of its potential for the future. Generally the curriculum has been welcomed although there have been some reservations and criticisms of various aspects of it. I do not wish to go into these criticisms here, but the time is ripe for a simple review committee to be set up, possibly jointly between the Department and the INTO, for the specific purpose of reviewing its benefit.

The question of remedial teachers in primary schools has been a pet subject of mine for quite some time. There is a tremendous case for the automatic appointment of remedial teachers on an ex-quota basis in schools, especially in the schools in deprived areas. In fairness to him, the Minister has appointed some remedial teachers ex-quota and I welcome that attitude. I would like to see it expanded and made a more permanent feature of our primary system.

The question has arisen concerning the transition year from the child centred primary curriculum to the subject centred second level system. There is need for a proper transitional year here because the child's mind at this time is very immature. The final primary year or the first year in secondary school should be used as a transitional year. It is important that a move be made on this in the near future.

Because of what was said in the House yesterday in relation to school transport I feel that the Government are about to introduce fares in respect of what is now the free school bus scheme. I anxiously await the decision of the Minister on this. In his speech the Minister said:

Rising costs resulting from wages and price increases and increases in the number of children attending school are reflected in the estimate. However, by means of better bus loadings, increased integration of services of primary and post-primary schools and other economies, cost increases have been kept at a reasonable level.

What are these other economies? A number of Deputies have expressed grave concern about services being stopped on certain school routes and about children having to walk miles to get the school bus. The Department seems to have decided to do away with the new school bus scheme. The services will be trimmed until such time as they will be ineffective, or the Minister will introduce some kind of a fare structure to cover the cost or part of the cost of the scheme. The Minister should tell the House now what he intends to do.

The question of temporary buildings is also of concern. Prefabs are just not on and in the long term they are a waste of expenditure because their life is so relatively short. Their use should be thoroughly examined with a view to establishing permanent buildings as opposed to prefabs. The Department should establish a policy on this matter once and for all.

The further closure of one and two teacher schools came up again in the course of Parliamentary Questions, and the Minister said quite clearly that he intends to continue the policy of closing those schools. To what extent will the Minister pursue this policy? How many schools will be affected this year or in 1979 and what consultation will take place before a final decision is made in respect of any school? I am concerned primarily with ensuring that the place of the school as the centre of a community is not broken down by bureaucrats. In many cases a strong argument can be made for the retention of two teacher schools. I am concerned with the length of time which very young children have to spend going to and from school. It is not unheard of for a child to meet the school bus at 7.30 in the morning and not to return home until about 6 in the evening. That is not acceptable. Schools should be relatively near and accessible to pupils. We are now reaching the point where these closures are an unnatural burden on young children.

In relation to the secondary school system a number of events have caused controversy in the past year, for instance the closure of Eccles Street school which gave rise to an amount of protest from parents and those interested in education. The lack of consultation with the Minister is not acceptable. It is vital that there should be consultations between the Minister and any school in relation to the future availability of schools in a community. The fact that the school is to be re-sited in Drumcondra is welcome to a certain extent, but the incident has given rise to considerable concern on the part of ASTI members in relation to redundancy and has given rise to debate on the future participation of the religious orders in education. In relation to the redundancy issue the recent report of the universities placement officer says that only 52 per cent of H.Dip. graduates, for instance, got permanent teaching posts here. That is a revelation of some concern. It is obvious that the redundancy threat is real. This threat should not be there at all because the population is increasing and in the context of the Tussing report we should be happy to have such a large pool of trained teachers available. In relation to the phased withdrawal of a religious teaching order from an area there should be full consultation with the Minister and the Minister should ensure that an alternative school will be established in the same area in order to ensure continuity of education for that community. I realise that, unlike community schools, secondary schools are private property. The Minister can recoup the grants paid to them but he cannot control the use or the sale of the schools. This is not the case with regard to community, comprehensive or vocational schools in which the State has an enormous participation. I should not like to see a large-scale phased withdrawal by the religious orders from secondary schools. Our second level education system has developed considerably in the past few years in a number of ways. We now have comprehensive and community schools at well as vocational schools. They are different in their approach to the curriculum that they offer. The secondary schools are more academic but they are a type of school that is acceptable to the community and they should continue to play a role in our educational system. The conference of major religious superiors should make a clear statement with regard to their future participation in secondary schools.

A matter that has given rise to concern among ASTI members is the lack of promotional opportunities in secondary schools. Any person who works in a school should be able to get to the top if he or she has the ability; otherwise there will be a bad atmosphere in the school. InThe Irish Times of March 8, Brother Declan Duffy, of the secretariat of Catholic Secondary Schools, stated that they were considering a new kind of secondary school for the Dublin area where there would be a lay principal. That is an interesting move and it is one that I support.

I do not think that there are hostile forces in Ireland fighting Catholic schools as reported inThe Irish Times of 22 May. That was the comment of Brother Declan Duffy. I do not believe there is a great malicious plan against the religious in Irish education. Such statements are wrong and are unnecessary. The religious in Irish education have always played an important part and they should continue to do so, hand-in-hand with the lay teachers. Frankly, I do not like the atmosphere where the teachers' union are continually in conflict with the religious on a number of questions. There is no need for that. Consultations between them should be more open and constructive than is the case at present.

The reason for the structure of Irish education is the lack of an Act dealing with education. The Minister has promised to produce a White Paper but I do not know when that will happen. I should like him to tell us if it will be done before the next election, or will it be just another promise that is pigeon-holed forever in the back offices in Marlborough Street? I realise that it takes time to produce a White Paper but, having regard to the expert advice available to the Minister, it should not be too difficult for him to compile such a document within two years of taking up office.

The question of choice of subjects at second level has come to the fore. This is because the recession has made such an imprint on the minds of young people that they are questioning the type of education available in our school system. There is need for a completely new approach to the development of the curriculum. Recently I called for the establishment of an independent examinations and curricula board which would monitor the availability of educational subjects and which would have overall authority and responsibility for examinations at second level. The extent of the problem was illustrated in the most recent statistical report of the Department for 1975-1976. On page 50 of that report there is a tabular statement and I should like to quote some of the figures in that statement. The number of pupils who took English in the leaving certificate course was 71,621. Of that number only 2,466 took physics and chemistry; only 1,694 took agricultural science—and this is an agricultural country—and only 285 took agricultural economics; only 3,434 took engineering workshop theory and design; only 5,981 took technical drawing and 4,219 took building and construction. It is almost unbelievable that only 136 pupils took mechanics—an amazing reflection on our attitude to education. Only 15,882 —20 per cent—took accounting and 42,336, 60 per cent of those attending leaving certificate courses did physical education.

Those figures make me wonder what type of educational system we have. While I appreciate that education is necessary surely it is high time that education to ensure that our young people have a career prospect as a result of participating in that education was given a high priority. There must, especially at secondary school level, be a rapid change in the type of subjects available to students at that level. I am in favour of more practical subjects. I understand that the availability of more practical subjects will mean there will be higher costs involved, but surely our objective is to ensure the availability of a proper education for careers for our children. If that is the object then we must reformulate our attitude in relation to the availability of those subjects.

The type of subjects available in secondary schools should be similar to those available in community and comprehensive schools and should also be similar to those available in vocational schools. I know that the Minister is a Greek and Latin scholar but those subjects would not get jobs for many people in the country unless they were clever people like the Minister. There are many children doing subjects, in secondary schools especially, which have no relevance to the opportunities which might present themselves if they were doing different type subjects. There must be a complete reassessment of the subjects which should be available in secondary schools.

I would like to discuss the position in relation to examinations. We must look at our examination system at the second level. The ICE Report in relation to the leaving certificate was published some years ago but I do not see any move towards trying to implement any of the recommendations in that report. On top of that the pressure of the university entrance system, the points system, is unnecessarily harsh on participants in the leaving certificate course. I believe that, primarily, we must move towards separating the entrance examination, the points system, from the leaving certificate examination or else we will have to have an examination after the leaving certificate examination or some new examination which will permit students to go on to university.

In recent years we have been increasingly aware of the need to take a hard look at the school curriculum at all levels. The introduction of the new primary school curriculum represents a significant change for good in our educational system. There are areas in which this curriculum needs to be developed and improved on but by and large the child centre basis of the curriculum is to be commended. Any faults in the curriculum may be attributed largely to the manner in which the programmes were introduced in the schools rather than the flaws in the fundamental philosophy which flows through teaching and learning. I mean by this the inadequate inservice training for teachers and the presence of overcrowded classrooms.

Little attempt has been made as yet to continue the process of change into the post primary school. Examination courses dominate and they are grossly irrelevant in many respects for many if not most of our children. Efforts to devise new forms of curriculum together with new forms of assessment have been far too limited and have suffered from lack of support. There seems to be an inordinate delay in bringing forward proposals for the establishment of an independent examination board and a curriculum board, a board which could have a role in curriculum design and planning and not just in assessment alone.

The report on the former function of the intermediate certificate examination, known as the ICE report, has for too long been on ice. It appears now to be deeply frozen. The Minister, in a recent reply to a question on the future of this report, indicated that it would be considered in the context of a white paper on education. Is this another way of saying that it will be conveniently shelved for many years to come? The efforts which have been made to bring change in second level schools need much more encouragement and backing than they have received to date. The SESP projects and other projects emanating from the curriculum development centre at Shannon and the programmes which have been developed by the Dublin VEC TCD curriculum development unit are cases in point. The Dublin curriculum development unit have done most valuable work in pioneering new modes of examination in the areas of humanities and science. Important new ground has been broken in including continuous assessment and direct teaching involvement in those new forms of examination.

The Department of Education, presumably prompted by the Minister, have decided to discontinue this work in those areas by refusing to recognise those examinations from 1979 onwards. This tragically retrograde step is to be deplored and may set back the impetus for progress for many years to come. I ask the Minister to consider again the seriousness of this decision and the demoralising effect it will have on the schools which have been involved in those schemes and, above, all, the loss in educational opportunity to the pupils concerned. Can we afford to ignore and write off good work done in those areas and cast aside the expertise gained by those who worked on those projects? We should note that to date over 5,000 students have been involved in those programmes.

There are also other areas where lack of support and commitment by the Department of Education has led to frustration of initiative from teachers who are ready to offer much in the development of new and meaningful courses. The Irish studies programme collapsed through lack of support. The transition year project, which has been successfully piloted in 16 schools, can offer guidelines for future development in education. Will this also be axed in time for similar reasons? Many of those schemes have thrived despite minimal expenditure by the State. Often goodwill and encouragement are every bit as important as finance in introducing pilot schemes. There must, however, be a great investment in research so that maximum benefit can be gained from the wealth of experience being generated. If from a relatively modest investment in research we gain a better educational system then surely this is worth any price to the nation as a whole.

The decision not to recognise the VEC Dublin TCD scheme from 1979 onwards is, as far as I am concerned, a very negative attitude on the part of the Department. I am very disappointed with the Minister. I wonder does he know the full implications of this decision? Do the civil servants in the Department simply not want to let go of their control over the certificate examinations?

I firmly believe that the case is, in fact, one where the civil servants in Marlborough Street do not like to see the slightest bit of power passing out of their hands. The pilot scheme was something I welcomed. It was making excellent progress and the attitude of the Department now really makes me sick. I believe this is a backward step of monstrous proportions when one looks at the need to develop the curriculum. It is a shocking decision on the part of the Minister. I condemn it out of hand and if and when we get back into Government, hopefully at the next election, I can assure the House that if I am ever Minister for Education I shall reverse that decision and ensure that the scheme, and other schemes like it, will get full support. If we are not going to adapt our education system to modern needs we will end up having an irrelevant system.

There is need, too, to look at the length of time courses take at second level. Do we need a three year course for intermediate? Do we need a four year course? Do we need a two year or a three year course for the leaving certificate? Do we need a different type of course in leaving certificate? Do we need—I know we do—to insulate school leavers from the pressures of university entrance? I believe we do. I believe it is bearing unnecessarily harshly on our young people. The Minister made no reference whatsoever to that serious problem.

I believe that the Dublin area, because of the population explosion, is a very special case. A committee of inquiry should be established into the needs of first, second and third level education in the whole Dublin area. Over the last decade there has been a tremendous explosion and the report again indicates another tremendous pressure on our educational system the brunt of which will fall on Dublin. I believe there is need for special planning in regard to school requirements in Dublin, and Dublin must be dealt with as a special case.

At third level the slowness in establishing an NIHE in Dublin on a proper footing is a reflection of the lack of commitment on the part of this Government. I am aware that a commerce block is about to be built. I am satisfied that the site selected is too small and will not allow for a proper NIHE. Little has been said in public about this and, unless the Government move now, there will be a social backlash. There is also need in Dublin for a ring of RTCs. There is need for the urgent establishment of the NIHE, and the lack of action by the Government, as shown in the Estimates before us, will have a very serious detrimental effect on the provision of education in the Dublin area. Some statement must be made in regard to the proper development of an NIHE. The report published in November 1977 was an excellent one, one worthy of action. I cannot understand why the Minister has not come out in favour of a massive investment in NIHE, Dublin, and in the establishment of a number of RTCs in the Dublin area.

With regard to community schools, according to a report in an article by John Walsh in theIrish Independent of Tuesday, 18 April:

The Minister for Education has decided to sign the controversial deed of trust for community schools —thus ignoring the teachers' unions and passing on major controls to the nation's bishops.

The Minister subsequently wrote a letter to the County Dublin VEC indicating that the contents of the deed of trust had already been agreed to. Subsequently he ran to cover because of the outcry against the signing of these deeds. He backtracked very rapidly and his statement here today has not made the position any clearer. The County Dublin VEC refused to sign the deeds of trust. The teachers' union said that, if they were signed, they would withdraw their services. On the other hand, the Conference of Major Religious Superiors insisted on the signing of the deed of trust as had been settled back in 1972 under the then Minister for Education, Deputy Faulkner. It is interesting to note that he was the Fianna Fáil Minister who established the format of the deeds of trust. His successor, Deputy Dick Burke, amended the deeds of trust to some extent—I do not know to what extent—but basically Deputy Pádraig Faulkner's document is causing this serious conflict.

Teachers should have the right to be on boards of management. I say that as a general statement covering all types of schools. There is need of and justification for participation by teachers on boards of management of community schools just as on other school boards. Their absence from them is a matter of amazement to me. I hope the Minister, who concedes that he is in favour of teacher participation on boards of management, will renegotiate these deeds to ensure that teachers have such representation.

Another aspect of the deeds which has caused comment is the reserved places for members of religious orders. Having reserved places for members of religious orders may lead to a bad atmosphere within the school place. Members of teaching religious orders are well qualified and should be well qualified to get a teaching post in competition with any lay teacher. That has always been the case. If a member of a religious order gets a teaching post in the ordinary course of competition, he is seen as an equal by the other teaching staff, whereas if there are reserved places for members of religious orders he may be looked upon by other members of the teaching staff as a second rate teacher, which may not be the case at all.

On the other hand, I appreciate that members of religious orders like to live in their own community and I understand why they would like to be assured of places in the community school. I do not see this as a simple problem. It is a complex problem. I would hope teachers' unions might come some of the way towards taking into account the problems of members of religious orders in this context.

The quota for the reserved places has not been taken up by the religious orders in some of the existing schools, and I wonder why there is such controversy. Overall, members of religious orders would benefit by gaining teaching posts through the ordinary course of competition. On balance that is the proper approach. They have more to gain from such a course of action by being seen to be involved with and equal to other teachers in the school place.

Those are the two main problems which have arisen in relation to the deeds of trust. The other problem is the Minister's proposal to increase the contribution rates from 5 per cent to 10 per cent. I do not think the religious orders or the VECs wish to or can afford to raise their contribution and I do not think they should be asked to do so.

I have already referred to third level education. The Minister has decided to give the degree awarding powers back to the NCEA. He will be bringing in a Bill to give effect to that. I should like to know whether that Bill will be ordered before the summer recess. A number of serious points are at issue here, for example, the role of the NCEAvis-à-vis the HEA. What function will the HEA have? What relationships will the HEA have? What will the relationship between the NCEA and the universities be in relation to the validation of courses? What representation will be allowed to the RTCs on the bodies of the NCEA? Many serious problems are involved in this area. I do not wish to go into them now because of the imminence of the introduction of the NCEA Bill.

This move will cause complications, and I wonder how far the Minister will go. I have heard a number of criticisms of the move from people who were originally in favour of giving back to the NCEA degree awarding powers. I wonder will the Minister reduce this commitment in this area. However, I will await the Bill with bated breath as they say. I hope it will be introduced before the summer recess. I do not believe we could debate the Second Stage of that Bill before the summer recess if the House is going into recess at the end of June, because we would not have time for a full debate, but it should be published and thrown open for public debate before the summer recess.

The Government are committed to granting independence to the universities. This raises the Constitutional problem of university representation in the Seanad. If independence is to be granted to the universities, this matter will have to be dealt with on a long-term basis, although I understand that, in the short-term, there might be a way around it by allocating certain places between the universities, or by having one of the universities designated by the NUI. This could lead to friction. I wonder will the Minister pursue this matter, or will he let it lie. If he intends to pursue it, when does he intend to hold the necessary referendum to change the position in relation to university seats?

I should not like to see the university seats being done away with. The university Members of the Seanad play a substantial part in the Seanad and the House has benefited down the years from their presence in that Chamber. I would not approve of any move to divest the universities of their Seanad seats. I hope that will not be done.

I have already criticised the points system. I understand the need for it— the lack of places. Perhaps the universities would change their system somewhat, or evolve some other system of assessment such as an interview system for some applicants below a certain number of points level. I believe that students go to universities and do courses in one faculty which they had no intention of going for simply because that is the faculty they are entitled to go to by virtue of the points scale.

I also disagree with the intention of the universities to use the results of one year's leaving certificate for the purpose of gaining admission to the universities. That is a very retrograde step which will deny access to university to so many people who may in later life like to go to university. Indeed the question of mature students at university has not been discussed for some time or in depth. There are arguments that there should be a change over to a voucher system for higher education, permanent education or recurring education, whatever you like to call it. It is a concept that should be looked at and it may have something of value, but it has not been argued comprehensively in this country. Some move should be made by the Department to produce a discussion document on a voucher system for education.

The Minister announced in his speech that he is increasing the eligibility limits for higher education grants, and I welcome what he has done even though it may not go far enough along the road. With the revised limits the maximum would be £5,100 compared with £4,200 in 1977, and at the other end of the scale it is increasing from £2,625 to £3,400. Any move forward is to be welcomed. I do not wish to go into the janitor syndrome, an expression which the present Minister himself used during the debate on this subject on 8 February 1977 when he was comparing the income of various people who would not be eligible. If I wanted to I could use the same type of expression in proving that these limits are not sufficient. I am satisfied that in the circumstances there is an improvement, which I welcome, and I welcome anything constructive that the Minister does.

I note, however, that he did not increase the rateable valuation for farmers. That remains at £60 maximum. Is this another blow at the farmers? The farmers have suffered from the effects of inflation as have other members of the community. Not all farmers are rich and driving around in Mercedes. While some of them might be avoiding the payment of wealth tax many farmers have a commitment to raising their families. The decision of the Minister not to increase the PLV eligibility limit is wrong and unfair. The limits of the PLV for farmers whose children wish to go to university should have been raised in line with inflation and by the same percentages as the income limits set down. I would like to know if the Minister intends to increase the threshold of eligibility limits for farmers by increasing the rates of the PLV allowance.

Another aspect of the higher education grant scheme is the need to have a look at the grants as applicable to technical colleges. We must take the pressure off the universities. We have gone some way along the line to using the RTCs at technical, professional and trade level in a constructive way. The higher education grants should be made more available to students attending RTCs, NIHEs and other technical colleges. We must look at a way to finance people who have not a good income and whose children are just as entitled to do courses up to diploma level in RTCs and other institutions as are people who can afford to go to university. Indeed many students who attend RTCs become of far more use to society than some of those pursuing courses in the universities. We tend to over-produce in certain faculties at university level and it is time to have a reassessment of this problem.

What is the Minister's policy in relation to the expansion of universities? What plans has he to increase the availability of places at universities in the context of the Tussing report? What investment is he going to make at the universities?

The question of student loans has been raised and I want to know if the Minister is in favour of student loans as a partial replacement for grants at third level. Is he satisfied that a comprehensive grants system is better? There are many pressures on third level and the Minister has no policy in relation to it. He will probably say that we will know it all when the White Paper is produced, but that is only putting things on the long finger.

I move on to adult education which does not get much attention in this country. The concept of recurring education deserves our commitment, and not just our support.

: The Deputy has five minutes left.

: Our financial commitment in the Murphy Report on Adult Education has not been implemented. There is need to establish an adult education section in the Department to lay down policy in relation to recurring education. There is need for each vocational education committee to appoint an adult education officer who would be responsible for developing courses in adult education, and there is need for a proper income to be paid to teachers who go around the country teaching in adult education courses. Because of the miserable pittance they receive it has become more expensive for them to go out to teach than to stay at home. Unless they are given a proper stipend there will not be a continuation of adult education courses.

The grant for Aontas remains at the same level this year as last year. That organisation are trying in a way to encourage adult education, but much more must be done in this regard at Government level. There is not sufficient time remaining to me to enable me to raise the many other points that I should like to raise. For instance, I have not had time to discuss the role of our vocational schools. But in that context I would merely say that it is my conviction that all our second-level schools should be called say, community schools, and that each should have courses of a similar nature.

Despite his party's commitment to Irish and to matters Irish, the Minister for Finance did not translate that commitment in financial terms in the budget. In this connection I should like to refer to some subheads in the Book of Estimates. For instance, I note that the grants to colleges providing courses in Irish has remained at the same level this year as in 1977, that is, £250,000. The grant to Muintir na Tíre has remained at £25,000. The grant-in-aid for youth employment shows only a paltry increase this year to £300,000 compared with £219,400 last year. No doubt the Minister of State at the Department of Education will have something to say about that. I note that in the Vote for miscellaneous expenses the grant for Irish reading material has remained static at £20,000 and that the library grant in respect of primary education has remained the same, too. The need to establish school libraries is obvious when one has regard to the prohibitive costs of text books and to the burden this places on parents. There is need for a library complex in every school where books could be stocked and passed on to the pupils from year to year.

There is an increase of only about £2,000 in the aid toward the cost of school books bringing the figure up to £260,000. Undoubtedly the Minister has a tremendous commitment to Irish and bi-lingual schools but I note that the grant in this respect is reduced from £36,200 to £36,000. So much for the flourishing involvement and commitment of the Minister to Irish. A grant in respect of the publication of Irish text books is increased by only £10,000, while the grant towards the cost of school books in secondary schools remains at £600,000. The contribution to Macra na Tuaithe remains at £70,000. The Minister is well aware of the valuable work done by this organisation and also of the potential valuable work that they will not be able to do because of lack of funds.

I would support the Minister in respect of his seeking moneys for expenditure in a constructive way in the field of education but I must criticise him in respect of any area in which I think he does not act correctly or where he is not prepared to tackle the problems that present themselves. I am sure Deputy Horgan will enumerate for us the educational problems that face us, but it appears at this point that there is not the commitment to education on the part of the Minister that we need if we are to provide for the educational needs of an increasing population and to ensure that all our children have a good educational opportunity.

: Ba mhaith liom ar an gcéad dul síos comhgáirdeas a dhéanamh leis an Aire as ucht an oráid a thug sé dúinn inniu. Oráid mhór mhillteach ab ea é. Ní raibh mé cinnte, ar ndóigh, an easpa guth nó easpa airgid an deacracht is mó dó i ndeireadh an lae. Tá eolas againn anois go mbíonn guth ag an Aire nuair a bhíonn chuile phingin dearg imithe agus, mar a dúirt an tAire Stáit, an Teachta Tunney, cúpla lá ó shin, tá píosa mór de imithe thar sáile.

In commenting on this Estimate there are four headings that I wish to discuss. First, I wish to review the general political situation in relation to education as it existed at the time the Minister came to office. Secondly, I wish to review the manifesto in the light of the Minister's speech this morning and in the light of the Estimates. Thirdly, I wish to review the estimates in the light of what they contain and in the light of Government policy in general in relation to our social services. Lastly, I wish to draw the Minister's attention to some of the more serious problems which he cannot ignore and which will have to be faced in the very near future.

If I were marking the Minister's report card I would give him, perhaps, two out of ten for the past year. I might be persuaded to review his marks and to increase them to three but I would be very unwilling to increase them beyond that point.

: He fails.

: In the Department's scheme of things, his marking are nil. At the same time, I have a certain sympathy for the Minister because of the position in which he finds himself. He is in the unfortunate position of lying underneath a rather clumsy guillotine and turning his head to one side, with his hand on the lever that releases the blade, and seeing the smiling face of the Minister for Economic Planning and Development who, if I might mix my metaphors, is gazing over a financial precipice. In the circumstances it is not surprising that the smile on his face as he looks on the scenery is rather forced.

At the time of the change of Government the Minister for Education had been on these benches for four very hungry years. He had had plenty of time to consider the educational policy that, as a Government, Fianna Fáil should bring back. He had not been in the House before and had never been a Minister before. He had the valuable opportunity to sit back and take stock not just of Fianna Fáil policy but of the policy of many Governments in previous years and to bring not only something new but something radical and refreshing, something that breathed of reform, to the sphere of education. Instead, what did we get? We got a manifesto which when stripped to its bare essentials was no more than a cautious, careful, and as inexpensive as possible, response to the pleadings of some of the more vocal pressure groups the Minister had listened to while in opposition.

Neither there nor in the Estimate is there any evidence that the Minister is willing even to begin to consider some of the changes that need to be made in our education service if it is to match up to the demands, not indeed of the future but of today. From his very first day in office—and I do not doubt his commitment to education but I doubt his ability to see the problems clearly and to see the magnitude of the changes needed—that commitment has been expressed in conservative and unimaginative ways. As Sherlock Holmes said about the dog that did not bark in the night, the important thing about it was that it did not bark. The important thing about the last 12 months has been that the Minister was blind to the fundamental need to look at the education service and to see why it is not working properly and what needs to be done to make it work properly.

It should be obvious to him, as it has been obvious to many people for quite some time, that our education service is not working to the maximum degree of efficiency and in particular that its flexibility to meet the needs of the present situation is seriously hampered by the structure under which it operates. It is incredible that we should be discussing an Estimate here today presented by a Department administering an educational system which has remained unchanged in many of its basic respects for almost 150 years, unchanged in other respects for 70 years and unchanged in other respects for more than 40 years.

We have been promised a White Paper, but that may be a long time coming. It is incumbent on us to say, if we criticise the nature and structure of the education service, what we would like to see there and in particular to explain to the Minister why we criticise him for not turning his attention to this particular vital area. The main aspect of the education service I am talking about, the aspect which militates against flexibility, which militates in favour of bureaucracy and perhaps also of inefficiency, is the centralisation of the system. I asked the Minister in the House yesterday whether he had considered doing anything with the initiative towards regionalisation which was made under the last Government. It was patently obvious that he had no time for it at all. This is sad news because it means he is firmly in the tradition of his Fianna Fáil predecessors. He is basically not really concerned to challenge and change the structure and the shape of the education system he administers in order to make it less centralised, more regionalised and more democratically accountable at all levels.

The need for a proper system of administration like this is not just for efficiency. It may even cost money if it is done properly, and it probably will. It will certainly increase education but it will also increase proper accountability and the proper democratic controls of our educational resources. When we look at the total amount of money going into education this year we will see the huge amount of resources involved. The total Estimates this year come to almost £350 million. That money is being spent basically all over the country in small, medium and large communities. What say or control have any of these communities in the administration or options provided by this enormous amount of money? The answer is little or none. The only practical accountability that exists is on the desk of the Minister for Education in Dublin. That is where the buck has to stop in the end, but there is no reason why the buck should always have to travel there. The evidence is that it does. The evidence is in the administration of the education system. The evidence is here in this House where we ask questions about the provision of basic sanitary facilities for schools in the Bog of Allen, Mayo or wherever. It is absurd that the Minister for Education should be answering questions about this instead of running the education system.

There is another reason why we need this new kind of system, and that is because education is going to cost more. People's readiness to pay for education will be sharply conditioned by the amount of control they are prepared to exercise over the money involved. If they are asked to pay more and more for education and given less and less say in how the money is controlled, distributed or applied at local level, they will complain. Of course they will suggest that something else should be cut to provide money for education, and they will turn their backs on it. If we are to have the right to ask people for the money we will need to run the education system, we will have to give them more control over it. That involves a democratically controlled regionalised system of education.

One of the other advantages of such a system might be—and this has already been mentioned in the course of this debate—that it would provide an ideal framework not just for the co-ordination of schools at each level, but for the co-ordination of the three levels of education. The need for co-ordination between primary and post-primary levels has been referred to several times. It is virtually impossible to organise such co-ordination from Dublin for the wilds of Mayo, Donegal, Kerry, west Cork and anywhere else. It is not even just a question of geography or distance in miles; it is a question of psychological and administrative distance.

I have said already that the Minister has promised us a White Paper. It may be that that White Paper will contain some gems of this kind. I would like to think so, but on the evidence of the year to date and of the Minister's policy initiatives such as they are, it is almost too much to hope that we will see in the White Paper anything like the basic and fundamental initiatives we need to challenge the centralisation of the Department of Education and put education on the democratically accountable local, county or regional basis.

There are two examples of things that have happened in the past year which give particular force to what I am saying. The first is the question of the community schools. It is an extraordinary story. As the Minister has not been slow to remind us, the signing of the deed of trust for community schools has been delayed for a long number of years. Why did the Minister suddenly let it be known that he was now prepared to sign the deeds of the schools?

I do not recall any official announcement to that effect although there were articles in the newspapers which implied that he would do so. Ministerial decisions like this do not arrive out of the blue. The often arrive under pressure. I suspect that the pressure under which the Minister decided to sign these deeds of trust for community schools was that which surfaced in the newspapers on 22 March 1978 with the publication of the news inThe Irish Times that

Catholic voluntary secondary schools with lay principals and probably completely lay staff may be established in the Dublin region. Forty-five more secondary schools will be needed in the Dublin archdiocese by 1995, which includes parts of Co. Wicklow and Co. Kildare, and 30 will be needed in the city area.

If I were the Minister for Education I would be more than interested in this kind of statement but I would not be panicked by this kind of statement into deciding to sign a deed of trust that was fundamentally defective in many important respects. I would have recognised this for the bluff it was and I would not have been hurried in my desire to alter the deeds of trust for all existing community schools, in order to take account of basic educational, political and democratic principles. The Minister panicked and his panic was described in offensive terms by the Secretary General of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors at a Press Conference in Dublin which was reported inThe Irish Times of 29 April 1978. Speaking about the attitude of the religious to the community schools issue the secretary said:

They believed that they would be given a guarantee that they could live their religious life in a religious community and that they would be able to make a genuine contribution to the community school as religious. They now find that the basis of their trust, the Deed, is of very dubious value. Nor has their bewilderment been lessened by Mr. Wilson who, in his first days of office, suggested the probabilities of the Deed of Trust being amended even though on the same occasion he admitted that he hadn't read the actual document as yet. Later on, the religious were given the guarantee that the Minister would not "welch" on the promises previously given. Later still he has initiated a round of negotiations.

A few days ago I asked the Minister for Education in the Dáil, whether this was a true statement of the situation and the Minister firmly declined to deny it. If it is true it is a sad reflection on the sense of indecision which appears to be informing the Minister's administration on this vital question. Fundamental to the issue is the question of whether or not the Minister or his Department have actually made any commitments in relation to any of the existing schools. So far we have not even been able to get a clear idea of this. In Volume 306, column 934, of the Official Report of 11 May 1978 I asked:

Could he inform the House whether he regards himself as being committed to signing any deed of trust in the form of the draft deed of trust for Tallaght which is presently lodged in the Oireachtas Library? Does he regard himself as having a commitment to signing that deed in its present form or any other deed in similar form?

Mr. Wilson: The Minister regards himself as bound to sign a deed of trust when he has worked out the details of it with the Teachers' Union of Ireland, the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland and the managerial bodies.

Any ordinary reading of that reply would give one to understand that the Minister had an open mind on the matter, that no commitments had been made by any side in the negotiations. Yet we also have a statement issued by the Department of Education in relation to community schools deeds of trust which says that the Minister for Education desires to clarify the present position in regard to the completion of the deed of trust. That statement tells a different story completely. It says that the Minister anticipates that meetings with the two teacher organisations will have taken place before the deed of trust in the case of any community school will be available for signature, and that the Minister desires to point out that he has on different relevant occasions made it clear to all the parties concerned that he considers the commitments already entered into in good faith must be honoured. Are there commitments or not? If there are commitments, what are they? Who are the parties concerned and whose good faith is involved? If that statement is true the Minister is committed to a deed of trust which in many important respects offends against basic principles; he is committed to a deed of trust which reserves posts for members of religious teaching orders.

It is interesting to note that this was one of the strong points raised by the religious orders in relation to this matter even though the number of places that their members have on the staffs of existing community schools is comparatively low. This was referred to by the General Secretary of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors in the statement which I have already quoted in which he makes the point that:

We think our requests are reasonable. We have to be able to live our lives in a religious community context, we must have some continuity of life in an area in which we establish a community, we must be afforded our reasonable amount of mobility for our members who will be moved from one community to another within our religious families.

It is interesting to compare this to a statement by the Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin, Dr. Carroll, as reported inThe Irish Times on 15 April 1978, which said:

"A school," he said, "to be Catholic does not need a large and highly-organised religious community at the back of it. A handful of Brothers, or even one, can provide a Catholic presence in a school that is staffed largely by lay teachers who themselves are committed Catholics."

This is an interesting division of opinion within the managerial side in relation to their role in the community schools. I talked on many occasions to members of religious orders about this problem and I was startled that one of the rationales for reserve posts was that they are in some sense afraid that if they are only allowed to look for posts in the community schools on the open market, as it were, they will be discriminated against because they are religious, by the people they themselves educated and trained for generations. If they expect emnity from this quarter from where can they expect friendship?

Debate adjourned.