Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Ceisteanna (363)

Mary Butler


363. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Education and Skills her plans to safeguard the English language teaching sector in view of the difficulties faced due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the potential decrease in revenue for the industry as a whole for 2020, reportedly in the region of 80%; her views on the continued implementation of provision of funding in line with a document (details supplied) to protect and enhance the reputation of Ireland and the English language industry from abroad; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13722/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I am aware of the challenges that are being encountered in the English language education sector and the substantial impact that the Covid-19 outbreak has had on its students, teachers and providers.

As part of the response to the pandemic, my Department established a specific Working Group for this sector. This group is comprised of representatives of relevant Government Departments and representatives of both students and English language education providers.

As part of this process, the representative bodies for English language education providers have engaged with the Working Group surrounding the loss of revenue experienced by their members and their proposals, such as those continued in the document in question, for supports to aid the recovery of this sector. In this forum, the providers have been advised of the measures introduced by Government, as part of the wider Covid-19 response, to support businesses at this time. These measures include the temporary wages subsidy scheme to facilitate employers to keep employees on the payroll throughout the Covid-19 pandemic in order to retain this link for when business increases after the crisis. This scheme is administered by the Revenue Commissioners and is available to providers in the English language education sector. Additionally for those staff in this sector who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic, they are eligible to apply for the Government’s Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

Further to the above, the provider representatives have been advised of the eligibility of businesses in this sector to apply, where appropriate, for further business supports made available by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland and through its network of Local Enterprise Offices. A full list of these supports and related information is available for providers here:

https://dbei.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Supports-for-SMEs/COVID-19-supports/ .

Engagement with provider representatives will continue as this sector moves towards its full re-opening and continues on a path to recovery.