Dáil Éireann - Volume 548 - 14 February, 2002

Written Answers. - Strategic Management Initiative.

  222. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science the updated achievement of each target set for his Department under the strategic management initiative; if the targets in question are sufficiently measurable, quantifiable and focused on outcomes rather than activities to be an effective tool of real accountability; and if not, if he proposes to refine the targets. [5184/02]

  Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): In compliance with the Public Service Management Act, 1997 my Department has recently published the strategy statement for 2001-04. This statement sets out my Department's key objectives, high level goals and related strategies of the Department for the next three years. The high level goals are: to promote equity and inclusion; to promote quality outcomes; to promote lifelong learning; to plan for education that is relevant to personal, social, cultural and economic needs; and to enhance the capacity of the Department of Education and Science for service delivery, policy formulation, research and evaluation.

  In support of its high-level goals, the Department of Education and Science is engaged in a wide range of activities, covering the key elements of policy planning, quality assurance, resourcing, regulation and evaluation, as well as a wide range of support services for the education sector.

  Ensuring high quality in education is a core responsibility of my Department. Quality learning outcomes are vital for the achievement of active citizenship, employment and social inclusion. Evaluation of education programmes, assessment and certification, schools develop[1098] ment planning and the school evaluation programme of the inspectorate, staff development and curriculum review all support this function.

  The attainment of my Department's targets in this regard, will require continuing attention to the quality of learning experiences. It will also require the ongoing strengthening of organisational capacity in my Department. This strategic priority and the strategies to support it are set out in the strategy statement which commits my Department to strengthening its policy-making structures with particular emphasis on research, monitoring and evaluation of outcomes.