Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 467-485
 Header Item Summer Works Scheme Expenditure
 Header Item Residential Institutions Redress Scheme
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item School Curriculum
 Header Item School Curriculum
 Header Item School Equipment
 Header Item School Curriculum
 Header Item State Bodies Expenditure
 Header Item Capital Expenditure
 Header Item Appointments to State Boards

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 774 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 162 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 467-485

Summer Works Scheme Expenditure

 467. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if his attention has been drawn to the situation with a school (details supplied) in Dublin 1 which was allocated funding by his Department as part of the summer works building scheme in respect of special needs access for children with disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39280/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I understand that the school referred to by the Deputy is appealing the decision made by the local authority in relation to the fees being charged in respect of their Summer Works project. Should this appeal be unsuccessful my Department will consider an application for funding to cover these additional costs.

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme

 468. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn his views on a matter (details supplied) with regard to the redress board for victims of abuse.  [39285/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The information sought is being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy.

Schools Building Projects Status

 469. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn when construction of the new building at a school (details supplied) in County Dublin will commence.  [39286/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The Department recently authorised the design team to begin the pre-qualification of a shortlist of main building contractors in anticipation of the project progressing to tender and construction stage. Thereafter, the project will proceed to tender to the shortlist of suitably qualified contractors. Tender stage on a project of this size normally takes between 6 and 8 months to complete. The Department has advised the school authority that a date for the commencement of construction on the project will be determined as part of the detailed plan for 2013 which will be published in late 2012.

  Questions Nos. 470 to 476, inclusive, answered with Question No. 356.

School Curriculum

 477. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he has given any consideration to concerns raised by certain professors that Project Maths is damaging not only to mathematics but to engineering, technology and the sciences; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [39361/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I have asked the National Council for Curriculum to advise on this matter and I expect a detailed response very shortly.

  In addition, formal in-depth research on the impact of Project Maths is ongoing. Following a tendering process, the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) was awarded a contract to conduct research into the impact of Project Maths on student motivation, learning and achievement in the initial 24 schools who were engaged in the project since September 2008 and all the other post-primary schools where syllabus change commenced in September 2010.

  The student-focused research design has two components:

Part One focuses on testing students' mathematical performance in areas significant to Project Maths, and on exploring their attitudes towards mathematics.

Part Two uses analysis of students' work and detailed case studies to develop a data-rich picture of mathematics teaching and learning.

In relation to Part Two, the case study sample schools have been selected and the research is scheduled to begin in these schools shortly.

School Curriculum

 478. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he has examined the latest international survey by the OECD entitled Education at a Glance, which highlights the fact that the proportion of time spent on teaching maths and science here is below the EU average; the action he will take to bring teaching practices here more in line with the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [39362/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn As the Deputy will be aware, Education at a Glance uses 2010 data for this part of the report. In mid-2011, I launched the National Strategy to improve Literacy and Numeracy among children and young people 2011 to 2020. One of the early actions implemented under the Strategy was to ask all primary schools to increase the time spent on mathematics by 70 minutes per week from January 2012. At post-primary, in September 2011, post primary schools were asked to make every effort to ensure that students have access to a mathematics lesson every day, particularly in junior cycle, from the earliest possible date; that mathematics be strengthened in Transition Year, where available; and that every effort should be made, insofar as is possible, to deploy teachers who hold a qualification in mathematics to mathematics teaching.

In relation to science, the primary curriculum emphasises that all aspects of the child's development are interrelated and the developmental process is interactive and complex. Science is addressed not just through science but also through other curricular-related areas, for example, geography and mathematics. At post-primary level, I am currently considering detailed implementation arrangements for a revised Junior Cycle. Science will continue to play an important role in the new Junior Cycle.

School Equipment

 479. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the number of primary schools that do not have access to whiteboard technology; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [39366/12]

 480. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the number of primary schools classrooms that do not have access to whiteboard technology; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [39367/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 479 and 480 together.

Between November 2009 and November 2010, my Department distributed some €46m directly to primary schools under the national ICT Infrastructure Grant Scheme. The main priority under this scheme is the equipping of each classroom with a teaching computer and digital projector. Once the baseline is in place schools can allocate any remaining funding under the scheme to other ICT equipment and software for educational use.

A number of key support measures were taken to help schools get best value in the use of these devolved grants - in particular, the inclusion of schools in national purchasing frameworks for desktops, laptops, digital projectors and printers, the delivery of a national series of e-learning seminars for school leaders, and the provision of extensive guidance and training on the use of ICT in the classroom.

I am aware that there is a significant deployment of interactive whiteboards across primary schools. However, I do not have precise information on the numbers of IWBs deployed per school or per classroom. In practice, expenditure decisions at this level are matters for the Boards of Management of the schools concerned subject to compliance with conditions of grant funding, and are not subject to central national statistical reporting.

That said, I am keen to assess the impact of the funding distributed, and in that context it is planned to carry out a comprehensive survey of ICT integration in schools later this year. I would like to assure the Deputy that this survey will include questions covering interactive whiteboard deployment and I look forward to sharing the results with all stakeholders in due course.

School Curriculum

 481. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn his plans to introduce digital literacy onto the school curriculum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39368/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The NCCA's ICT Framework: A structured approach to ICT in Curriculum and Assessment (2007) has been made available to all primary and post-primary schools. ICT, including digital literacy, is an integral part of a student's on-going education. It harnesses the young person's natural sense of wonder. The primary curriculum promotes the importance of ICT as a resource which enriches the quality of teaching and learning across the curriculum.

In fact, the recently published National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy (2011) in setting out what our young people should achieve in primary and post-primary highlights the need to improve outcomes through "increasing awareness of the importance of digital literacy and including assessment of students' (at both levels) ability to read digital material as part of the national assessments of English reading".

The new Framework for Junior Cycle, proposed for introduction in schools in 2014, features literacy and numeracy and six other key skills that will be embedded in all junior cycle subjects and short courses. The descriptors of the six skills include specific elements and each has the use of ICT highlighted.

The new Junior Cycle Framework also provides for short courses to be introduced in schools, some of which will be developed by the NCCA and some by schools themselves. A short course that the NCCA is currently working on is in the area of Digital Literacy which includes topics such as information literacy, personal safety online, digital storytelling, and online privacy.

The Senior Cycle curriculum explicitly espouses the central role of self-directed learning, a spirit of enquiry, critical thinking and problem solving. Recently revised syllabi contain references to the student as a researcher. This requires the skills of analysis of a range of data to make judgements based on the student's research. Such an approach is, in reality, at the heart of good practice in quality teaching and learning.

State Bodies Expenditure

 482. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the number of State bodies that have been set up since 9 March 2011; the rationale behind these decisions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39995/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn No new state bodies have been established under the aegis of my Department since 9 March, 2011.

The Deputy may wish to note that

1) the Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland (QQAAI) is due to be established shortly, this will involve the merger of the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI), the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) and the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC). The establishment of QQAAI will result in savings to the Exchequer.

2) The Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology and Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences were merged in March 2012 to form the Irish Research Council (IRC). The IRC has been established as a sub-board of the HEA. The administrative costs of the Councils amounted to some €1.2m in 2011. As a result of the merger it is expected that a there will be a saving of some €100,000 in 2012.

3) My Department is currently engaged in implementing a government decision to reduce the overall number of VECs from 33 to 16 through the merger of particular counties. The full implementation of the decision is expected to result in annual savings to the Exchequer of the order of €2.1m. These will arise from reductions in staff numbers and potential economies of scale through development of shared services. While there may be scope, over time, to dispose of surplus property it is difficult, given the state of the property market, to estimate what could be raised for the Exchequer from property sales or surrender of leases.

Capital Expenditure

 483. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide a list of the payments made by the State to private landowners in 2010 and 2011 to acquire land for use in the public capital programme.  [40008/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I wish to advise the Deputy that the value of sites acquired for use in the public capital programme from private landowners by my Department amounted to just under €5m in 2010, and €10.25m in 2011. I include Table 1 with details.

  In addition, during 2010, my Department provided just under €9.13m in funding to a number of Vocational Education Committees to facilitate the acquisition of sites from private landowners. No such funding was provided to Vocational Education Committees in 2011. I include Table 2 with details.

  Price information regarding site acquisitions is commercially sensitive and the release of such information for 2011 would prejudice future and ongoing negotiations elsewhere in the State. Therefore, I am not in a position to provide a list of payment amounts paid by my Department for individual sites in 2011.

Table 1

Year Site Location Amount
2010    
  Site in Ballincollig, Cork €3,000,000
  Site in Maynooth, Kildare €1,986,250
2011    
  Site and buildings on St. Patrick's Hill, Cork Commercially Sensitive
  Site in Rathnew, Wicklow Commercially Sensitive
  Site on Haddington Road, Dublin Commercially Sensitive
  Site in Belmayne, Dublin Commercially Sensitive
  Site in Cabra, Dublin Commercially Sensitive


Table 2
Year VEC Site Location Amount of Funding provided
2010      
  County Cork Carrigaline €1,991,645.00
  County Kildare Naas €770,335.85
  County Kildare Maynooth €1,421,943.50
  County Kildare Maynooth €1,612,000.00
  County Limerick Kilmallock €300,000.00
  County Limerick Askeaton €150,000.00
  County Louth Dunleer €600,000.00
  County Monaghan Castleblayney €553,726.00
  County Monaghan Monaghan €871,200.00
  County Sligo Coola €208,135.00
  South Tipperary Carrick-on-Suir €650,000.00

Questions No. 484 answered with Question No. 377.

Appointments to State Boards

 485. Deputy Gerald Nash Information on Gerald Nash Zoom on Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the number of appointments that have been made to positions available on the boards of semi-State companies and statutory agencies following public advertisement; if he will provide details of the names of persons who have been appointed under this initiative and the agencies on which they now sit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40033/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn In accordance with Government policy, expressions of interest have been sought through the Public Appointments Service (PAS) from suitably qualified and experienced persons for consideration for appointment to the following boards of Bodies operating under the aegis of my Department.

  Leárgas Ltd – The Exchange Bureau The Higher Education Authority The Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland (to be newly established) The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA)The State Examinations Commission (SEC) The Teaching Council

To date, appointments have not been made to the Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland.

  Vacancies on other boards of Bodies under the aegis of my Department that arise during 2012 will continue to be advertised on my Department's website. The Deputy should note that in making any direct Ministerial appointments, I am not necessarily confined to those who make such expressions of interest but will ensure that all of those appointed have the relevant skills and competencies for the positions.

  Details of Membership of Boards and appointments dates can be downloaded from the Departments website http://www.education.ie/.


Last Updated: 06/05/2020 09:09:42 First Page Previous Page Page of 162 Next Page Last Page