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Written Answers - Departmental Bodies

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 755 No. 1

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 91.  Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the number of agencies, authorities, boards, committees, workings groups, tribunals, council services, task forces, agencies, or other quangos set up by him since February 2011; the number abolished since then; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7525/12]

[143]Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The following have been established since my appointment as Minister for Education and Skills:

(1) Advisory Group to convene the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector

In addition to convening the Forum, the Advisory Group was required to receive and distil the various views and perspectives of participants and thereafter to provide the Minister with policy advice having regard to the Forum’s terms of reference. The Advisory Group held a number of meetings in public (22-24 June and 17th November) and received almost 250 submissions from the public as part of its work. The Advisory Group will present its report to the Minister shortly.

(2) Student Grants Appeals Board

This Appeals Board was established under Student Support Act 2011 (Student Grants Appeals Board) (Establishment Day) Order 2011, S.I. 451 of 2011, with the 8th September 2011 appointed as the establishment day for the purposes of subsection (2) of section 25 of the Student Support Act 2011. The Board is independent in the performance of its functions. Its establishment allows students who have applied for a grant under the 2011/12 student grant scheme and subsequent schemes to have any appeals determined by the Board.

(3) SOLAS Implementation Group

This Implementation Group is chaired by the Minister of State with responsibility for Training and Skills, Ciarán Cannon T.D. Membership of the Implementation Group includes representatives from the Department of Education and Skills, FÁS, the Irish Vocational Education Association (IVEA) and the Department of Social Protection. The consultation process with key stakeholders is currently underway. The Implementation Group will develop an Action Plan to implement the changes necessary to put SOLAS in place following the passing of the relevant legislation in 2012. The Group reported to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Jobs on progress in November in keeping with the Government decision on the creation of SOLAS.

(4) The Literacy and Numeracy Implementation Advisory Group

This Group met for the first time in December 2011. The membership consists of representatives of Government Departments and agencies with implementation responsibilities as well as national and international experts in the field of literacy and numeracy. The Group will review progress and advise on the implementation of the National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children and Young People 2011-2020.

(5) Advisory Group on Suitability of Qualifications for Higher Capitation Rates

This group was established in October to advise the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on the equivalence of qualifications in other disciplines to a Level 7 Qualification in early Childhood Care and Education. The composition of the group included representatives from the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland, the Irish Universities Association, Ireland’s Institutes of Technology and from both my Department and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. The group has completed its work.

(6) Junior cycle Implementation Advisory Group

The general remit of the Group is to advise on and progress the implementation of the proposals on Junior cycle reform. The composition of the group includes representatives [144]from my Department, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, the State Examinations Commission, School Management, Principals and Teacher unions and Parents.

(7) New Schools Establishment Group

In June 2011 I announced that twenty new primary schools and twenty new post-primary schools are to be established in the next six years. I also announced the establishment of new arrangements for the recognition of new primary and post-primary schools. These new arrangements included the establishment of a New Schools Establishment Group which will advise me on patronage of the new schools following its consideration of a report on the applications received to be prepared by the Department.

The Deputy may wish to note the following:

In June 2011, the functions of the National Educational Welfare Board transferred to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Since September 2011, the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) is within the remit of Dublin West Education Centre alongside the Department’s largest support service, the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST).

The Deputy will also be aware that there are a number of major structural reform projects and other initiatives being progressed in the Education sector (of which some are included in the Public Sector Reform Plan published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform last November). These include: The establishment of SOLAS, the new agency to reform, co-ordinate and fund further education and training programmes including developing a seamless interaction with the National Employment and Entitlement Service (NEES) on activation measures. The amalgamation of the 33 Vocational Education Committees (VECs) / establishment of 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs). The ETBs will take over the work of VECs and will have an expanded role in the delivery of further education and training across the country. A single awarding authority for student grants. City of Dublin VEC will operate as the new single student grant awarding authority to replace the existing 66 grant awarding bodies. Implementation of the new arrangements are being phased in from 2012/13 academic year. The consolidation of Higher Education provision under the Strategy for Higher Education to 2030. The establishment of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland which involves merger of the National Qualifications Authority, FETAC and HETAC. The merger the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology and the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences into a consolidated single council under the HEA. It is also proposed to dissolve the Education Finance Board on the establishment of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund. I intend to publish the necessary legislation at the earliest opportunity.

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