Tuesday, 7 November 1978
Dáil Eireann Debate
Dr. Browne: asked the Minister for Education if he approves the action of Dún Laoghaire Borough Vocational Education Committee in cutting back services in Dún Laoghaire School of Art; and if he will intervene to provide the school with permanent status, thereby  ensuring its future, and allowing the NCEA to validate courses and award diplomas.
Mr. E. Collins: asked the Minister for Education the reasons for the cut back in teaching hours at the Dún Laoghaire College of Art; and the reason for not allocating extra moneys to that college in the current financial year.
Mr. L. Cosgrave: asked the Minister for Education if he is aware of the inadequate conditions under which the Dún Laoghaire School of Art is operating; that there is insufficient staff, including the absence of clerical and administrative assistance, as a result of which the school has been unable to conform to the directives of his Department regarding pupil/teacher ratio; that, as a result of the non-adherence to the correct pupil/teacher ratio, the hours of part-time teacher instruction have been reduced; if so, if he will take immediate action to remedy the situation to ensure the maintenance of realistic educational standards for students attending the school of art; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
I understand that the Borough of Dún Laoghaire Vocational Education Committee at their meeting of 26 October 1978 made certain proposals in relation to the matters raised in the Questions. These proposals were received in my Department this morning and will be considered urgently.
As regards clerical and administrative assistance, I have recently sanctioned the following additional staffing for Dún Laoghaire Vocational Education Committee: one Senior Clerk, one Clerical Officer, three Clerk typists. It is a matter for the committee to deploy its staffing resources to best advantage.
 I may add that on 11 May last, I received a deputation of parents and students of the Dún Laoghaire School of Art for a discussion of certain problems affecting the operation of the school. I desire to state that since the date of that meeting, the following action has been taken: (a) the NCEA have agreed to the continuance of ad hoc validation facilities for the courses for a further three years; (b) a sum of £60,739, which is, in fact, more than that originally sought by the committee, has been sanctioned for expenditure on art materials in 1978; (c) a supernumerary grade A post of responsibility has been allocated to the art department.
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