Dáil debates

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Education (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage (Resumed)


5:00 pm

Photo of Brian HayesBrian Hayes (Dublin South West, Fine Gael)

Yes. There is no reason why we cannot radically alter the way in which those decisions are made. Library research and information services should be dealt with locally as well, as should printing, publication and in-service teacher training. Why should Marlborough Street decide that? That is a matter for local educational providers to decide. If ever there was an area where one could save a fortune it is in the area of information technology support which should be provided on a regional basis. This is crucial

What I have described is an opportunity to radically alter the structure of Irish education. I am calling for a kind of liberation theology. If one takes what I am saying as possible it is logical that what we are doing here in allowing VECs to become patrons of the new community national school model would alter what they should be doing. I am also concerned that there might well be a view in the community that what we are doing here will create some kind of inferior schools to those which currently exist. There is a dreadful snobbery which exists in Irish education across the country.

I do not want a situation whereby religious primary schools, gaelscoileanna, Educate Together schools and now the new community national schools would encounter social mobility questions regarding whether one school is advantaged over the next. We are making it unwieldy and highly complicated. It flies in the face of international best practice. I have given this much thought and I have come to the view that if we are going to radically alter education we need to do it based on local democratic structures. If one is doing that one therefore has to alter the way in which the VEC is a patron for local primary and post primary schools.


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