Written answers

Tuesday, 2 November 2004

Department of Education and Science

Vocational Education Committees

9:00 pm

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick East, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Question 443: To ask the Minister for Education and Science if she will consider amending section 7 of the Vocational Education (Amendment) Act 2001 to ensure that representatives of parents of children under 18 years in VEC schools, elected to the VEC are themselves parents of such students; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26820/04]

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick East, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Question 444: To ask the Minister for Education and Science if VECs will provide parents of children who are students in their schools with the opportunity to collectively organise for appropriate representation on VECs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26821/04]

Photo of Mary HanafinMary Hanafin (Minister, Department of Education and Science; Dún Laoghaire, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I propose to take Questions Nos. 443 and 444 together.

The Vocational Education (Amendment) Act 2001 and the Composition of Vocational Education Committee Regulations 2004 represent a new departure by giving a statutory right to parents and guardians to participate in the election of members to VECs. Under the Act parents of students, who have not reached the age of 18 years and who are registered as students at recognised schools or centres for education established or maintained by VECs, may elect two members, male and female, to a vocational education committee. To stand for purposes of these elections, a person must be nominated by five eligible parent electors within the VEC concerned.

The election of parent representatives heralds a significant step in the partnership process when representatives of parents, VEC staff and other relevant community interests will sit alongside elected local authority members on VECs for the first time. The term of office for each VEC corresponds to that of the local authority. Provision is made for parent representatives to have the opportunity of continuing to serve on committees for the full term on the same basis as other elected committee members. This is preferable to parent representatives having to resign on their child reaching the age of 18 years or where their child no longer is a registered student, in the event that such representatives were obliged to be parents.

The legislation does not require that the representative of parents be a parent. While it is a requirement of the legislation that the nominee be supported by at least five eligible electors, it is not required that the nominee himself or herself shall be a parent. This approach is open and democratic and I have no proposals to change it at this stage.

Comments

No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.