Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 6 May 1987

Vol. 372 No. 5

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Examination Superintendents and Assistant Examiners.


asked the Minister for Education the number of non-serving teachers who were employed as examination superintendents and assistant examiners in 1986; and the position regarding the same for 1987.

The number of non-serving teachers appointed by my Department as superintendents and assistant examiners at the Certificate Examinations is as follows:


Assistant Examiners







I am sure the many thousands of teachers who supplement their income by superintending examinations and marking examination papers do the work excellently. However, we have a deteriorating unemployment problem. Would the Minister agree that it is not necessary to be a serving teacher to superintend examinations and that the system which operated under the old group certificate examinations, where vocational committees took on a great number of non-serving teachers and other non-employed people for superintending work, was a good system? Does the Minister agree that one does not need to be a qualified teacher to superintend an examination and will she initiate a good scheme to take some people off the dole queues to do this work?

I am very pleased with the standard which has been set by the superintendents and assistant examiners in the Department of Education. They have served the country well. I decry any attempt to question the validity of anybody involved in this process. It has always been the practice in the Department to appoint some non-serving teachers as assistant examiners. In 1985 a total of 32 qualified teachers who were either in part-time work or who were unemployed were appointed as superintendents. This figure was increased to 123 in 1986 and to 187 in 1987. It is proposed to continue this practice each year in consultation with the teachers' unions. The question of increasing the number of non-serving or part-time teachers who do this work will be continuously reviewed in consultation with the teachers' unions.

On a point of clarification, would the Minister agree that it is not necessary to be a teacher to superintend examinations? What is needed is a responsible person to do this job. I am talking about widening the intake of people to do this work, many thousands of whom are needed every year in the summer, to include people who are not necessarily teachers.

The people appointed by the Department are of the highest calibre available. I would decry any suggestions that anybody appointed was not of that proven capacity. The system employed at present has served education very well. The arrangements we have come to in consultation with the teachers' unions is satisfactory but it will be reviewed constantly, as are all matters pertaining to examinations. The proportions we have achieved of serving and non-serving teachers has been brought about by a consensus and I intend to proceed on those lines.

I am asking a question to which I cannot get an answer.

You will not.

Is the Minister saying that it is necessary to be a teacher in order to superintend a group of students doing an examination. Could I have a simple answer to that question?

The Deputy still has her knife in the teachers.

The Deputy for her own reasons is keen to see a decrease in active teachers' involvement in the——

I am concerned for the unemployed.

——superintending and examination structures of the Department of Education. I am perfectly satisfied that the mix we have obtained at present between serving and non-serving teachers is one that serves the examination system well. I do not intend to decry one set of people as against another or to draw invidious comparisons.

I would like to ask the Minister——

We cannot allow this argument to continue.

I am decrying nothing. Is the Minister satisfied that 74 non-serving teachers out of a total of many thousands is a satisfactory mix as between the unemployed and those already employed in this work?

The increase has been from 51 in 1986, when the previous Minister, Deputy Cooney, was in office, to 74 in 1987. I am perfectly satisfied, after consultation with my officials and with the teachers' unions, that a very correct and appropriate mix has been obtained in this matter.

Question No. 6, please.