Dáil Éireann - Volume 520 - 08 June, 2000

Written Answers. - Teacher-Pupil Contact.

68. Mrs. Owen asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the concern of school principals that huge numbers of pupil contact hours are being lost; and the plans, if any, he has to tackle this issue. [16182/00]

87. Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to the recent survey undertaken by the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals which show that many secondary students are losing an average of 40 hours teaching time every year because of the involvement of teachers in non-teaching duties; the steps he will take to ensure that pupils do not lose valuable teaching hours in this way; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16130/00]

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Minister for Education and Science

(Dr. Woods): I propose to take Questions Nos. 68 and 87 together.

I am very much aware of the difficulties which arise from a reduction in the level of class contact as a result of a range of issues including in-service and the absence of teachers on examination work. There is no doubt that this is a complex issue and one not amenable to easy solutions. For that reason I established a working party comprising officials of my Department and representatives of the education partners with a view to examining the present model of examination of oral and practical work. The working party is considering a number of approaches to the difficulties that arise where examinations are conducted on an external assessment model and I look forward to receiving their report in due course.