Dáil Éireann - Volume 489 - 31 March, 1998
Written Answers. - Educational Qualifications.
Mr. O'Shea Mr. O'Shea
259. Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will provide a simultaneous appropriate educational component for all those participating on social employment schemes whose educational attainment levels are low which students may avail of so that they can progress to further qualifications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7818/98]
Mr. O'Shea Mr. O'Shea
260. Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will provide the opportunity to all those participating on the community employment scheme to avail of a simultaneous educational component based on a modular system, leading to further qualifications at post leaving certificate, institute of technology or university level free of charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7819/98]
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin) Micheál Martin
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): I propose to take Questions Nos. 259 and 260 together.
The community employment scheme is funded by FÁS and provides a part-time work experience programme for long-term unemployed people of 20 hours per week. I have been informed by FÁS that the programme structure provides for an input of education-training modules of 25 days minimum duration. The content of this input is agreed at local level with participants based on their vocational and personal development needs. This training input may also allow for certification to be achieved at a variety of levels.
In that context, full-time education programmes, such as post leaving cert courses, are not a suitable option for participants while on a community employment programme. However, it would be open to such participants to avail of part-time education courses in further or third level education subject to the normal entry and funding arrangements for part-time provision. In addition, those who have completed a CE scheme  can progress to further full-time education or training programmes or the vocational training opportunity scheme.
The vocational education committees operate an adult literacy and community education scheme — ALCES — to provide special tuition for disadvantaged adults with literacy problems. The provision of funding for the scheme has recently been increased from £2.065 million per annum to £4.065 million.
Additional modular inputs via part-time education options for all 40,000 plus participants on community employment programmes would have major resource implications. The question of how best access to lifelong learning and adult literacy-education should be promoted will be among the issues to be dealt with in the forthcoming Green Paper on Adult Education.
Dáil Éireann 489 Written Answers. Educational Qualifications.