Written answers

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Department of Education and Skills

Further and Higher Education

Photo of Rose Conway-WalshRose Conway-Walsh (Mayo, Sinn Fein)
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104. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he plans to reform the funding model of the further education and training sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [60608/21]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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In late 2019, SOLAS commissioned an independent expert panel to conduct a review of the funding model for Further Education and Training (FET). The panel’s terms of reference are to:

- Review the existing approach to funding ETBs to deliver FET by SOLAS in terms of its effectiveness in delivering on national objectives, facilitating ETB flexibility and autonomy in responding to regional needs, ensuring sustainability and quality, and driving performance.

- Identify and consider options regarding how that approach is developed in order to reflect the core principles that must underpin future funding of FET.

- Make recommendations on an appropriate future approach to funding the sector, and on an implementation timeframe with moderating mechanisms to ensure a smooth transition to this approach, one that avoids any sudden or significant changes to current funding levels.

Since appointment, the panel have undertaken extensive research, consulted with a wide range of stakeholders, and tested funding ideas and approaches via a series of workshops with ETBs. Although the process has been delayed by COVID restrictions, a draft report is currently being drafted by the panel and is expected to be submitted to SOLAS early next year.

This review is an important enabler for the FET Strategy and I look forward to receiving the report and considering its findings and recommendations.


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