Written answers

Tuesday, 17 May 2005

Department of Education and Science

Public Consultations

9:00 pm

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick East, Labour)
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Question 364: To ask the Minister for Education and Science the number of public consultations undertaken by her Department on matters of public policy during 2004; the names of the groups consulted; and the outcome of the consultation process. [16277/05]

Photo of Mary HanafinMary Hanafin (Minister, Department of Education and Science; Dún Laoghaire, Fianna Fail)
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Details of public consultations undertaken by my Department in 2004 are as follows.

An OECD team of expert examiners visited Ireland in 2004. During 2003, in advance of this visit, submissions were requested from the public. A total of 88 submissions were received. The examiners took these submissions into account and the stakeholders they met during their visit included many of those who had made submissions. The outcome was the OECD Review of Irish Higher Education, published in September 2004. A list of all of those who made submissions is available if required.

The Your Education System, YES, process of open, public consultation on the future development of education in Ireland commenced in January 2004. The Educational Research Centre, ERC, will report on the process. Public participation in the process was through public meetings, the website for the process —www.youreducation.ie— or in writing directly to the secretariat in the ERC. Reports on all the meetings held as part of the process, a large number of comments e-mailed during the process and a number of longer submissions can be accessed on www.youreducation.ie.

As part of the development of the Traveller education strategy, the joint working group established for this purpose invited public submissions from interested groups or individuals in 2004. A total of 40 public submissions were received from a wide range of interests, including teacher representatives, Traveller organisations, trade unions, human rights organisations, service providers and individual members of the public. The three Traveller organisations, Pavee Point, Irish Travellers Movement and National Traveller Women's Forum, involved in the joint working group were funded to conduct six consultation seminars with Traveller parents and learners. These consultations took place in May and June 2004. The outcome of the public submissions process and the Traveller parents and learners consultation will contribute to the development of the Traveller education strategy.

In connection with section 11 of the Official Languages Act and the obligation to consult with the public in preparation for my Department's scheme of initiatives for improving the level of service to the public through Irish and/or bilingually, my Department invited submissions from the public. A total of 25 submissions were received. These submissions have informed my Department's scheme and may be accessed on my Department's website.

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