Seanad debates

Thursday, 7 February 2019

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Diarmuid WilsonDiarmuid Wilson (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I am looking forward to our discussion on the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) (Amendment) Bill after the Order of Business today. The sixth anniversary of the amalgamation of 33 vocational education committees, VECs, into 16 education and training boards, ETBs, will be on 1 July this year. We were told at the time of that amalgamation by then Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn, that this would save more than €2 million annually. I would like the Minister for Education and Skills to come into this House at an early date and, approaching the sixth anniversary of the amalgamation, outline to us exactly what savings have been made.

I am conscious that these education and training boards are doing an excellent job in providing education, training and apprenticeship training throughout the length and breadth of the Twenty-six Counties. However, it appears that an emphasis on appointing directors to particular areas seems to be creeping in.

I am very proud to be an employee of the Cavan-Monaghan ETB, albeit I have been on a leave of absence for the past six years or so, but I am aware that we could be creeping towards the establishment of another HSE. The emphasis appears to be on the appointment of directors, deputy directors and heads where there were never any before and where there was never a need for them. Cavan VEC had seven people and a chief executive officer who administered the entire scheme. A multiple of that number of people now administer the scheme. The emphasis should be on teachers, pupils, schools, services and facilities, not on administration.


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