Dáil Éireann - Volume 578 - 27 January, 2004

Written Answers - Post-Leaving Certificate Courses.

  482. Ms O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will implement the recommendations of the McIver report as soon as possible to address the unsatisfactory situation with regard to further education in PLC colleges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1726/04]

  575. Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Education and Science the steps that are being taken by his Department to implement the recommendations of the McIver report on post-leaving certificate students; the reason these students are being provided for in the second level sector when they qualify for third level grants and the further steps the Minister is making to ensure that post-leaving certificate students have access to the same facilities as third level students; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2227/04]

  Mr. N. Dempsey:I propose to take Questions Nos. 482 and 575 together.

The post-leaving certificate review was commissioned by my Department to examine the sector and make recommendations as necessary regarding the organisational, support, development, technical and administrative structures and resources required in schools with large-scale post-leaving certificate, PLC, [510] provision. The final report was completed in April 2003.

The recommendations in the report are wide-ranging and encompass proposals that extend beyond PLC provision, including issues which impact on the shaping of structures for the delivery of further and adult education into the future, and on other sectors of the education system. Exploratory meetings have taken place between officials in my Department and the management and staff representative interests in the sector to examine their respective priorities and to consider issues surrounding a number of the recommendations in the report. Further exploratory meetings with relevant stakeholders in the sector will be necessary in the period ahead in connection with this report.

Maintenance grants were introduced for students registered on post-leaving certificate courses, PLCs, in September 1998 following a commitment in the programme for Government, An Action Programme for the Millennium, to introduce equitable support for students attending PLC courses. Such courses play a key role in preparing people for employment and further education-training. However, PLC courses are offered over one or two years in VEC and other post-primary schools and lead to national awards at FETAC levels 1 and 2. PLC courses may lead, on progression, to specified higher education courses in the institutes of technology.