Martin, Micheál

Tuesday, 23 June 1998

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 492 No. 7

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Ceisteanna — Questions. - Government Programme.

There were 306 posts lost last year and 445 the previous year under the Government of which the Deputy was a member. He is bluffing.More Button

Priority Questions. - Primary School Costs.

Was asked: the estimates within his Department of the day to day running costs of primary schools expressed as an amount per year per pupil; and the evidence, if any, available to his Department on the extent to...More Button

My Department commissioned a unit cost survey of first and second level schools in 1990. The survey was based on data related to the 1988-89 school year. The study was completed in 1992 and the repo...More Button

I find the proposal unacceptable. We must approach the issue in a spirit of partnership which imposes obligations on all sides. The CSO was merely updating data contained in the unit cost survey I re...More Button

I do not accept that.More Button

The Deputy never advanced that argument when he was in Government 12 months ago. The partners in education have different rights and responsibilities; the whole issue of local contributions is relate...More Button

I am not. The State provides a capitation grant which meets basic requirements although I would like to enhance and increase that. Abolishing local contributions would not create additional funds fo...More Button

Priority Questions. - Higher Education Grants.

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has to make appropriate increases in both the income limits which apply to the levels of third level maintenance grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he considers that the third level maintenance grant is adequate to cover basic living costs in light of recent reports which indicate that many students are experiencing extreme poverty; and if he ...More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 17 and 18 together. The 1998 third level student support schemes have recently been issued to local authorities and vocational education committees. It has been the...More Button

I accept the limits are not overly generous but they have been that way for quite some time. The free fees scheme has made a difference to those above the limits in terms of their ability to survive ...More Button

The new policy on housing is essential to keep costs down and reduce house price inflation.More Button

I regret I cannot increase the rates as the Estimates do not allow me to do so. Within the overall Government fiscal policy and the resources available to me, I decided to prioritise the creation of ...More Button

Governments in the past decade or 15 years have not contemplated assessing net rather than gross income levels in view of the cost implications associated with that. In 1997-8, there was a 1.6 per ce...More Button

I do not accept the Deputy's basic point. The Clancy report gives a much deeper explanation why young people, particularly from socio-economically disadvantaged areas, do not secure places, gain acce...More Button

With respect, I am answering the Deputy's question. The Clancy surveys down through the years illustrate that we need to do far more at an earlier stage to increase participation in third level educa...More Button

Priority Questions. - Teaching Posts.

Was asked: the number of additional remedial and guidance teachers he will provide at primary and secondary level in the school year 1998-9.More Button

I am not in a position to indicate the precise number of remedial or guidance teacher posts which will be allocated for the forthcoming school year. With regard to remedial teachers, I have already i...More Button

We have not provided additional resources in terms of the money made available, but we have provided enough resources for the retention of the demographic dividend. We had to provide a supplementary...More Button

Is the Deputy referring to primary level?More Button

The demographic dividend has always applied to primary level and no such dividend has emerged at second level.More Button

I do not accept the Deputy's figures.More Button

There are approximately 727 primary schools embracing 45,000 children who do not have access to a remedial service. I intend to appoint additional remedial teachers this year and next year to compreh...More Button

Priority Questions. - Research Funding.

Was asked: the reason the National Research Support Board was not informed of the proposed allocation of the £5 million special fund for research before it made arrangements for a competition to fund 90 addition...More Button

Other Questions. - Disadvantaged Schools.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the loss of teachers due to declining numbers of pupils is causing severe problems for schools designated as disadvantaged in maintaining the high leve...More Button

I am aware of concerns which have been expressed regarding the loss of teaching posts by primary schools which are designated as disadvantaged.More Button

It was understood by the partners in education before the election that the statement in the Fianna Fáil manifesto meant the retention of the demographic dividend. That policy commenced in 1988 as a ...More Button

——because it was never the intention that teachers would be retained in existing schools.More Button

The Deputy is the only person who has come to that conclusion.More Button

Posts are not being withdrawn, other than per the annual agreement. This year approximately 393 schools will lose posts. The net dividend is 190 as other schools will gain posts as their numbers inc...More Button

What the Deputy is asking for is a new scheme. There are no cutbacks.More Button

I have no intention of being rail-roaded into giving commitments by propaganda or spindoctoring on this issue. The logic behind the Deputy's proposal is that teachers should be retained irrespective ...More Button

Approximately 90 schools did not receive an extra teacher following the granting of disadvantaged status in 1994, although they did receive extra capitation grants. I am not closing the door on the c...More Button

I intend to look at the guidelines as the scheme did no more than add one concessionary teacher to most of the schools included. There was no in-service provision and no overall strategy in terms of ...More Button

The Government is living up to its commitment in terms of retaining teachers in the system and the demographic dividend.More Button

I refer the Deputy to the IT 2000 initiative. This involves huge investment in primary education but the Deputy does not acknowledge this scheme. A cheque has been sent to every primary school to en...More Button

One-teacher schools will be looked at this year.More Button

There will be provision for one-teacher schools this year. The Government intends to live up to its commitments. Nobody said we would achieve everything in the first 12 months. The Government inten...More Button

Other Questions. - Voluntary Contributions to Schools.

Was asked: if he will give an estimate of the total amount of money paid by parents at first and second level by way of voluntary contributions to schools, based on the latest information available to his Depart...More Button

My Department provides funding towards the day to day running costs of primary and second level schools which are in the free education scheme. At primary level the funding is provided by means of per...More Button

It is not astonishing because that has been the position for many years. The Department does not have statistics or a database on voluntary fundraising in which schools engage. I am aware that second...More Button

The Department does not have it.More Button

Deputy Gilmore was in Government for a number of years and he is aware that the information to which he referred is not collected. The education system is State aided, but it is not controlled by the ...More Button

Adjournment Debate. - School Staffing.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to talk to the House about this matter. I draw the Deputy's attention to the manner in which the staffing allocation of primary schools is determined. The staffin...More Button

Adjournment Debate. - Second Level Schools.

Ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a ghabháil leis an d'Teachta as ucht an ábhar seo a árdú. Tugann sé deis dom a chur i bhfios don Teach conas mar atá cúrsaí maidir le scoil nua lán-Ghaeilge dara leibhéal a...More Button

Written Answers. - Capitation Grants.

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has to substantially increase the capitation grant for children attending primary school; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that An Action Programme for the Millenium contains a commitment to give primary education a clear priority in the allocation of resources. This commitment is clearly reflecte...More Button

Written Answers. - Child Care Assistants.

Was asked: if he will extend the care assistant scheme to cater for special needs pupils who have been integrated into mainstream primary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his views on the appointment of classroom assistants for pupils with special needs; and if he will have arrangements made for the appointment of an assistant for a person (details supplied) in west Co...More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 24 and 88 together. I am aware that a child care assistant post has been requested in the case to which Deputy O'Keeffe refers. My capacity to allocate additional c...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Refurbishment.

Was asked: whether he has satisfied himself with the current system for upgrading and extending the facilities at primary and second level schools; if he envisages a need to expedite the procedures whereby reque...More Button

The Deputy will appreciate that the length of time a school capital project takes is dependent on a number of factors including available funding and necessary planning procedures. For a number of yea...More Button

Written Answers. - Literacy Levels.

Was asked: the action, if any, he proposes to take in view of reports of serious deficits in literacy skills at third level; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The report on the OECD International Adult Literacy Survey: Results for Ireland, prepared by the Educational Research Centre, Drumcondra, for my Department in September 1997, indicated that, in genera...More Button

Written Answers. - Third Level Fees.

Was asked: the reason the bachelor of nursing degree course remains the only course where full-time students in a third level State funded college are charged tuition fees; his views on the latest action taken b...More Button

Solicitors representing students who are studying for a nursing degree in NUI, Galway, have initiated legal proceedings regarding the non-inclusion of the one year add-on course leading to the award o...More Button

Written Answers. - Higher Education Grants.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to increase third level maintenance grants in view of a recent report on student poverty; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the reason it is proposed to increase the level of third level grants by less than 2 per cent when the anticipated level of inflation is well in excess of this; and if he will make a statement on the ...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether the level of maintenance paid to those on higher education grants is sufficient to support a family on low income in maintaining a student at third level.More Button

Was asked: if he will reconsider his decision to increase third level maintenance grants by less than 2 per cent; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has for increases and changes in higher education grants.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 28, 29, 58, 105 and 350 together. The 1998 third level student support schemes have recently been issued to local authorities and vocational education committees. It ...More Button

Written Answers. - Primary Teachers.

Was asked: if he has assessed the INTO projections of future teacher needs; his views on these projections; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The INTO has proposed that 800 students should be admitted to the colleges of education annually for the next number of years to increase the supply of trained teachers at primary level. It is import...More Button

Written Answers. - Gaelscoileanna.

Was asked: cén plean atá aige freastal ar na daltaí ó ghaelscoileanna sa taobh ó thuaidh de Bhaile Átha Cliath agus i bhFine Gall atá ag iarraidh meánscolaíocht trí Ghaeilge.More Button

I dtús báire, ba mhaith liom a rá leis an Teachta go dtagann sé le polasaí mo Roinne soláthar a dhéanamh d'oideachas trí Ghaeilge nuair a bhíonn dóthain éilimh air, go háirithe ó thaobh líon na mac lé...More Button

Written Answers. - Modern Language Teaching.

Was asked: the progress, if any, made in relation to the pilot project for the introduction of modern languages into primary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the progress, if any, made in relation to the pilot project for the introduction of modern languages into primary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 32 and 84 together. Considerable progress has been made in relation to the pilot project for the introduction of modern languages into primary schools and the project ...More Button

Written Answers. - Guidance Counselling.

Was asked: his views on the ratios applying to guidance counsellors, that is, 11 hours per week up to 499 students and one teacher for 799 students as against an estimated 200 students on average being taught by...More Button

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has to have trained guidance counsellors recruited into the education system in permanent positions against a background of an estimated 37 per cent of schools which have no ...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether there is a need to revise the rules governing the appointment of guidance counsellors to take account of the growing needs of pupils.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 33, 48 and 50 together. The rules for the appointment of guidance counsellors are laid down in circular letters and deal with (a) criteria for allocation of guidance p...More Button

Written Answers. - Pupil-Teacher Ratio.

Was asked: the pupil to teacher ratio in primary and secondary schools; the comparison, if any, his Department had done with pupil to teacher ratios in EU and non-EU states; if so, Ireland's rating in this regar...More Button

The pupil-teacher ratio in primary schools in the current school year is 21.7 to 1. There is considerable data published, including OECD material, which compares pupil-teacher ratios at an internation...More Button

Written Answers. - Literacy Levels.

Was asked: the reason his Department's most recent estimate of the number of people participating in the adult literacy and community education schemes dates back to 1991; and his views on the way in which adult...More Button

A comprehensive survey of operation of the adult literacy and community education scheme was carried out in 1991. Statistics on participant numbers in the scheme have not since been collected directly...More Button

Written Answers. - Third Level Students.

Was asked: the progress, if any, he has made to establish a database to track dropouts at Regional Technical College and university level; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The reasons for dropout are complex. There is no simple explanation. Factors such as motivation, capabilities and suitability are all involved. There must also, of course, be a balance between compl...More Button

Written Answers. - Modern Language Teaching.

Was asked: the number of inservice training days provided to date in order to support the introduction of foreign languages in 250 primary schools; the audio materials and equipment provided to date in these sch...More Button

The pilot project on modern languages will commence in 270 selected primary schools in September next. It is envisaged that six project leaders will be appointed in the near furure. The duties of the...More Button

Written Answers. - Teaching Posts.

Was asked: the number of additional remedial teachers which he plans to provide at primary and secondary level in the 1998-99 school year.More Button

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to provide remedial and resource teachers to national schools in County Galway in view of the fact that 190 teachers are available within the service in 1998 for allocation t...More Button

Was asked: if he will appoint a resource teacher covering the primary schools in Skibbereen, west Cork.More Button

I propose to take Questions No. 38, 55 and 95 together. I am currently reviewing provision across the special needs area, including the remedial and resource teacher area, to ensure that all available...More Button

Written Answers. - Remedial Education.

Was asked: the reason his Department wishes to breach the guidelines for remedial education; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department has no proposals to breach the guidelines for remedial education. I understand that the Deputy's concern arises from references made by my Department to pupils being in need of remedial ...More Button

Written Answers. - Primary Teachers.

Was asked: the steps, if any, being taken to reduce the reliance on the use of unqualified substitute teachers at primary level; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has to reduce the severe staffing shortages in primary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 40 and 65 together. The whole issue of primary teacher supply is currently the subject of a review within my Department. All matters pertaining to this issue are bein...More Button

Written Answers. - School Facilities.

Was asked: if he will provide school facilities during the summer months for extra curricular activities for school pupils on holidays; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am aware that the management authorities of many schools already make their premises available for community and other uses. The use of schools outside of normal school time is a matter for the mana...More Button

Written Answers. - Youthreach Programme.

Was asked: the number of people participating in Youthreach projects; the average payment to these participants; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of people participating in Youthreach projects; the average payment to these participants; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 42 and 104 together. At present there are 3,975 participant places on the Youthreach programme in FÁS and VEC centres and 550 places in senior traveller training centr...More Button

Written Answers. - Leaving Certificate Examination.

Was asked: his views on the criticism that the leaving certificate has become too much of a memory test rather than a thinking test; the proposals, if any, he has in this regard; and if he will make a statement ...More Button

The leaving certificate, of course, makes some demands on the candidate's memory. However, the variety of assessment modes in use ensures that an apropriate range of skills is tested in line with the...More Button

Written Answers. - Learning Skills.

Was asked: his views on the criticism that schools are not teaching students to think for themselves and ask questions; the proposals, if any, he has in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter...More Button

It is an important objective of schools at all levels to develop in students a questioning attitude and the ability to think creatively and critically. The accepted view among experts is that thinkin...More Button

Written Answers. - School Accommodation.

Was asked: the minimum space regulations per pupil for primary schools; and the number of primary schools which do not comply with this regulation.More Button

My Department does not utilise a space-per-pupil norm in primary schools. Instead, it is the practice to provide classrooms of 70 sq. metres in new schools, and extensions to existing schools. The Ed...More Button

Written Answers. - Early Childhood Education.

Was asked: the system, if any, put in place to monitor progress towards the target of eliminating literacy and numeracy problems in early primary education in the next five years which has been adopted by his De...More Button

A number of initiatives aimed at reducing literacy and numeracy problems in early education and at other levels of the system are in operation at present.More Button

Written Answers. - Traveller Education.

Was asked: the reason his Department has no information in relation to the retention rate of traveller children in the education system; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am aware of the need for improved monitoring of participation and retention rates among traveller children in the education system. Research conducted by the Task Force on the Travelling Community i...More Button

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the number of children with specific language impairment who need special education provision; the assessment, if any, carried out on the adequacy of the provision t...More Button

I am aware that delays have been experienced in some areas in establishing special classes for children with specific speech and language disorder. Such delays have largely arisen because of difficul...More Button

Written Answers. - Leaving Certificate Examination.

Was asked: his views on whether it is easier to score high leaving certificate points in nonscience subjects as against science subjects; if so, the proposals, if any, he has in this regard; and if he will make ...More Button

I presume the Deputy is referring to the entry system to third-level courses based on the awarding of points to grades obtained in six leaving certificate subjects. It should be noted that there is a ...More Button

Written Answers. - Literacy Levels.

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 279 of 3 June 1998, the basis on which the secretary of his Department reported to the Committee on Education and Science that literacy problems had substantially...More Button

The statement by the Secretary General of my Department to which the Deputy refers arose from an analysis of data on pupils' reading attainment during the period from 1964 to 1993. Beginning in 1972 a...More Button

Written Answers. - Cultúr agus Ealaíne.

Was asked: cathain a bheidh athrú le feiceáil sa churaclam scoile ó thaobh nithe cultúrtha agus ealaíne de faoi mar a gealladh sa chlár Rialtais; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh.More Button

I measc na bpríomh-thosaíochtaí atá leagtha síos sa Chlár Rialtais tá go leasófaí an curaclam scoile chun tuilleadh béime a leagan ar ghníomhaíochtaí cultúrtha agus ealaíne. Uime seo, tá an leasú atá...More Button

Written Answers. - Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme.

Was asked: the reason VTOS courses are excluded from the back to education scheme, in view of the fact that VTOS programmes are the only courses specifically designed to cater for the individual needs of the lon...More Button

Was asked: if he will make a favourable decision in relation to bringing the rates of allowance payable to VTOS participants into line with those paid by the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs' b...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide additional funding to the vocational training opportunities schemes, to remove the current disparity between this scheme and the back to education allowance; and if he will make a s...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 54, 326 and 363 together. I should like to explain that the vocational training opportunities scheme, which is administered by my Department, is independent of the bac...More Button

Written Answers. - Early School Leavers.

Was asked: the role his Department has in terms of presenting and providing alternative options for early school leavers apart from the established scheme which has failed to reduce the 220,000 unemployed and le...More Button

The Government is committed to addressing this issue on a concentrated and co-ordinated basis. I have already announced a major expansion in the Youthreach programme for tackling early school leavers...More Button

Written Answers. - Leaving Certificate Examination.

Was asked: whether the investigation of the exam leak in Schull, County Cork, has implications for the current leaving certificate examinations and for procedures in future examinations.More Button

Was asked: if he will put a contingency plan in place to ensure that an alternative paper is available to avoid the recurrence of the Schull Community School debacle; and if he will make a statement on the matte...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 57 and 89 together. The Deputies will be aware that as a result of inquiries and having assessed the limited nature and duration of the exposure it was decided that th...More Button

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Was asked: if he will identify the priority areas for additional funding where he plans to allocate resources in order to improve the support for the integration of pupils with special needs into ordinary school...More Button

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has to further facilitate the integration of special needs pupils into mainstream primary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 59 and 91 together. I am firmly commited to maximising the supports available to special needs children who are attending mainstream schools on a fully integrated basi...More Button

Written Answers. - Junior Certificate Examination.

Was asked: the number and nature of suggestions made in relation to junior certificate science in the matter of the detailed reports of science examiners in 1997; the number acted upon; and if he will make a sta...More Button

Examiners make a valuable contribution in the further development of the draft marking scheme both at the marking conference and also during the early stages of the marking process leading to the refi...More Button

Written Answers. - Third Level Fees.

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has to extend the free fees initiative to include evening students (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Under the free fees initiative, the State meets the tuition fees of eligible students who are attending full-time undergraduate courses, which must generally be of at least two years duration, at appr...More Button

Written Answers. - Early Childhood Education.

Was asked: if, in view of preliminary findings from the operation of early start, Breaking the Cycle and the home school community liaison schemes, an expansion of the resource devoted to these programmes is war...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that I recently held a National Forum on Early Childhood Education. My objective in holding the forum was to allow all groups with an interest in the area of early childhood e...More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: if he will introduce a policy to protect primary schools in rural Ireland from losing further teachers by introducing a two-tier pupil to teacher ratio system, where the population is declining in ord...More Button

The Deputy appears to be advocating the introduction of a separate preferential staffing schedule to determine staffing levels at rural primary schools. Such a schedule would discriminate against simi...More Button

Written Answers. - Millennium Steering Group.

Was asked: the discussions, if any, he has had with the millennium steering group; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the submission, if any, he has made to the millennium steering group; the contents of this submission; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Millennium Steering Group, which will be chaired by my colleague, Minister of State, Deputy Séamus Brennan, has not yet commenced its work. Accordingly, the question of making submissions to the...More Button

Written Answers. - Pupil-Teacher Ratio.

Was asked: his views on the submission made by ASTI which contends that the Irish class size at secondary level, which is amongst the highest in OECD countries, is hampering effective teaching, particularly of p...More Button

While detailed information in relation to class sizes in individual second level schools is not provided to my Department, the Deputy will be aware that significant improvements have occurred in the p...More Button

Written Answers. - Student Support Schemes.

Was asked: if he will publish the preliminary report of the working group examining the various options for the future administration of the student support schemes; if it is expected that the new procedures wil...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, a joint working group involving officials from my Department and the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs carried out an examination of options for the future adm...More Button

Written Answers. - Post-Leaving Certificate Courses.

Was asked: the caps, if any, which he proposes to impose on post-leaving certificate courses; whether this will hamper the ability of this sector to respond quickly to emerging skill shortages; and if he will ma...More Button

Was asked: the plans, if any, there are to cap the number of places on post-leaving certificate courses for the academic year 1998-99 particularly in view of the commitments he gave in relation to the expansion ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 68 and 79 together. It has been the practice with effect from 1994-95 to allow expansion in general only to the extent that existing teacher numbers at local level all...More Button

Written Answers. - Education Technological Fund.

Was asked: whether he has satisfied himself with the development to date of the education technological fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am very satisfied with the development to date of the Scientific and Technological Education (Investment) Fund. The fund is a clear statement of this Government's seriousness in addressing key educa...More Button

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to request NCCA to develop a programme particularly geared to the needs of pupils with disadvantages highlighted in numerous reports within the primary education curriculum.More Button

It is a fundamental principle of the primary school curriculum that individual differences between children should be recognised and catered for in the school programme. It posits that the curriculum...More Button

Written Answers. - Maritime College.

Was asked: the proposals, if any, being considered regarding the establishment of a national maritime college; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department has received a joint proposal from the Cork Institute of Technology and the Irish Naval Service for the establishment of a National Maritime College in Ireland. The proposal is under con...More Button

Written Answers. - Parent-Teacher Meetings.

Was asked: the guidelines, if any, he has issued to schools regarding the use of additional flexibility of teachers' hours under recent pay agreements in order to facilitate parents who have difficulties attendi...More Button

My general policy in relation to parent-teacher meetings is that parents should be facilitated as far as possible. In practice, however, such meetings are held during normal school hours. To help enc...More Button

Written Answers. - Learning Skills.

Was asked: his views on whether a focus on teaching students what to learn instead of how to learn is disabling students from making a successful transition between second and third levels; the proposals, if any...More Button

It is sometimes stated that, in our second level education system, there is a narrow concentration on subject content (on what to learn) rather than on the generic, enabling, life-enhancing skill of k...More Button

Written Answers. - Third Level Education.

Was asked: the measures, if any, he proposes to take to ensure that the targets are achieved in relation to access to universities in view of the finding that only 50 people from disadvantaged backgrounds gained...More Button

Partnership 2000 provides that priority will be given to a strategy to enable non-standard applicants, especially the disadvantaged, to participate in third level education. The targets set for stude...More Button

Written Answers. - School Attendance.

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 302 of 6 May 1998 relating to absenteeism in Dublin's second level schools, when he will announce the mechanism referred to therein to quantify the number of stud...More Button

Discussions have yet to take place with the partners in education regarding the development and implementation of an appropriate mechanism for the purpose of providing statistics relating to pupils wh...More Button

Written Answers. - Weight of Schoolbags.

Was asked: when the report on the weight of children's schoolbags was completed; when a copy will be forwarded to the Department of Health and Children in view of the fact that he had not received it by 16 June ...More Button

The Working Group on the Weight of Children's Schoolbags has recently finalised its report. I understand that the group has addressed issues posed by the weight of schoolbags, in particular, the exten...More Button

Written Answers. - Youth Services.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the financial crisis facing voluntary youth organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to introduce a Supplementary Estimate to provide increased funding for voluntary youth organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 77 and 97 together. The overall level of funding being made available by my Department for the provision of youth work services in 1998 is £13,567,000. This represent...More Button

Written Answers. - Leaving Certificates.

Was asked: when the leaving certificate was issued to the relevant schools or pupils for each of the years from 1994 to 1997; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The 1994 leaving certificates were issued on a phased basis during January 1995 to the relevant schools for distribution to the candidates concerned. The 1995 certificates were issued to schools on 22...More Button

Written Answers. - Primary Teacher Training.

Was asked: the plans, if any, there are to approve a further intake of postgraduate students for the Bachelor of Education degree for primary teacher training; the number of postgraduates to be taken on the cour...More Button

I assume the Deputy is referring to the 18 months' graduate diploma course in primary teaching for degree-holders. My Department is currently in discussion with the authorities of the colleges of educ...More Button

Written Answers. - Youthreach Programme.

Was asked: the reason for the delay in filling the additional Youthreach places which have been approved.More Button

At the end of 1997 there were 4,525 approved places on the Youthreach and Traveller Training Programmes in FÁS and VEC centres. A further expansion of 2,240 places in 1998 is under way, which will bri...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Circulars.

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has to introduce a departmental circular banning programmes, for example, the Tesco computers for schools programme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the...More Button

Three official circulars (i.e. Circulars 23/84, 7/87 and 38/91) have issued from my Department to school authorities concerning the promotion and marketing of commercial products through schools. The...More Button

Written Answers. - Teaching Posts.

Was asked: if he has received the request from St. Philip's senior and junior national schools, Mountview, Clonsilla, Dublin 15, for a full-time support teacher for the refugee pupils in both schools; and if a d...More Button

I can confirm that I have received a request from St. Philip's senior and junior national schools for a full-time support teacher. A substantial level of support is being given by my Department to the...More Button

Written Answers. - Leaving Certificate Examination.

Was asked: the comments and suggestions, if any, the 1997 examiners made in relation to leaving certificate physics, chemistry, biology, high and ordinary levels; the suggestions implemented; and if he will make...More Button

Examiners make a valuable contribution in the further development of the draft marking scheme both at the marking conference and during the early stages of the marking process leading to the refinemen...More Button

Written Answers. - Guidance Counselling.

Was asked: if, further to Parliamentary Question No. 54 of 12 May 1998, he has satisfied himself regarding aspects of the guidance provision in second-level schools being no longer the sole responsibility of the...More Button

Traditionally, the provision of guidance, including the provision of information about careers and further education, has been part of the caring, pastoral overall educational role of the school. The...More Button

Written Answers. - Science Teaching.

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has for eliciting the views of science teachers regarding the problems they are encountering; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Science teachers have a very vibrant association, the Irish Science Teachers' Association. I have met the association recently in relation to a number of matters. The inspectorate of my Department me...More Button

Written Answers. - Outdoor Education Centres.

Was asked: if the Department of Tourism, Sport and Recreation has transferred the section of its grant allocation to outdoor education centres to his Department; if so, the reason in this regard; if a new sectio...More Button

Prior to the transfer of functions, outdoor education centres were dealt with by the sports section of the Department of Education.More Button

Written Answers. - Early School Leavers.

Was asked: the number of projects which have sought funding under the programme for early school leavers aged 8 to 15; the level of enrolment in the schools involved; the amount of funding they have sought for t...More Button

A total of 117 completed applications for funding have been received by my Department under the project strand of the early school leavers initiative. A selection committee comprised of departmental a...More Button

Written Answers. - Learning Skills.

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has to introduce a basic learning techniques course as part of the leaving certificate syllabus in order to provide students with the skills to maximise their learning power;...More Button

It is not my intention to introduce a specific course in basic learning techniques as part of the leaving certificate programme. However, I can assure the Deputy that much has already been done to hel...More Button

Written Answers. - Multi-denominational Schools.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties faced by Educate Together schools for which his Department's rent subsidy is only 50 per cent; if he will consider raising the level to 75 per cent ...More Button

The position is that, generally, the level of rental subsidy paid to multi-denominational schools in temporary accommodation is 50 per cent of the rental cost. A comprehensive review of matters relati...More Button

Written Answers. - Leaving Certificate Examination.

Was asked: if, in view of the fact that a number of leaving certificate students have to take two subjects on the same day, he will consider changing the timetable of the exam to ensure that students would only ...More Button

The change suggested by the Deputy, even allowing for the use of Saturdays, would extend the written examination period from 13 to 23 days. An extension of the examination period into July would impa...More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: if he will review the pupil to teacher ratio in national schools in the Gaeltacht areas where these schools operate as de facto Gaelscoileanna.More Button

I assume that the Deputy is referring to the differing staffing schedules which operate for Gaeltacht schools and Gaelscoileanna. Due to the significant resource implications I currently have no plans...More Button

Written Answers. - Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that sufficient recognition is being given by third level colleges and employers to the link modules under the leaving certificate vocational programme and to the leaving c...More Button

Students who participate in the leaving certificate vocational programme must take at least five subjects from the established leaving certificate in accordance with certain requirements. In addition,...More Button

Written Answers. - School Transport.

Was asked: the Government policy regarding school transport arising from the report of the school transport review committee; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The School Transport Review Committee undertook a very comprehensive study of the entire school transport scheme. The committee's report, published in January 1998, was circulated to all relevant and...More Button

Written Answers. - Further Education Sector.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to introduce legislation for the establishment of a further education authority in order to plan the development of the growing post leaving certificate sector.More Button

The Government's commitment to the ongoing development of the further education sector is evident in the decision to provide meanstested maintenance grants for students attending PLC courses with effe...More Button

Written Answers. - Science Teaching.

Was asked: if a large number of pupils fail to come through second level education who are competent to study physical sciences at third level will result in a collapse of the numbers willing to study science, e...More Button

At the outset, it must be noted that science subjects at leaving certificte are a prerequisite in only a small number of third level courses in related areas. Also, candidates have a wide range of su...More Button

Written Answers. - Literacy and Numeracy Levels.

Was asked: if he has assessed the possibility of introducing a baseline test of literacy and numeracy at first class in primary schools.More Button

The great majority of schools now administer standardised tests of literacy at each class level. An increasing number of schools are using similar tests in mathematics. The administration of these t...More Button

Written Answers. - Gaelscoileanna Establishment.

Was asked: the progress, if any, made to date in introducing a five year plan for the development of the Gaelscoileanna and the establishment of a special unit within his Department for the purpose.More Button

It is my policy to support the establishment of all-Irish schools in areas outside the Gaeltacht, where sufficient demand for such facilities is demonstrated and where there exists no suitable alterna...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Refurbishment.

Was asked: when a grant application to renovate a primary school (details supplied) in County Mayo will be approved; and when the funding will be sanctioned.More Button

Was asked: when funding will be sanctioned to carry out necessary urgent repairs to a primary school (details supplied) in County Mayo in view of the fact that the parents of the children are totally opposed to ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 327 and 354 together. My Department explored the option of amalgamation of the schools referred to by the Deputy as a possible alternative to the costly refurbishment ...More Button

Was asked: when a grant application to renovate a primary school (details supplied) in County Mayo will be approved; and when the funding will be sanctioned.More Button

My Department has no record of an application for grant assistance towards renovating the school referred to by the Deputy.More Button

Written Answers. - School Transport.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the overcrowding of a school bus route (details supplied) in County Cork; if he will investigate the necessity for a second vehicle on the route in view of this over...More Button

I understand that the children in question reside 3.9 miles from their school and are therefore eligible for transport. The families concerned did not avail of transport during this school year, but ...More Button

Written Answers. - Teaching Posts.

Was asked: when a letter of sanction for a second assistant teacher will issue to a school (details supplied) in County Cork.More Button

A circular outlining the staffing arrangements for primary schools for the 1998-99 school year will be issued to all primary schools very shortly. If the school to which the Deputy refers satisfies t...More Button

Written Answers. - Remedial Education.

Was asked: if he will carry out a review of remedial education where a teacher is provided to a cluster of schools; his views on whether an effective service cannot be provided where too many schools are contain...More Button

Was asked: if he will approve the appointment of a remedial service for four schools (details supplied) in County Roscommon; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will appoint a shared remedial teacher for schools (details supplied) in County Mayo which, on the basis of the standard attainment tests, have demonstrated a caseload of 47 pupils requiring the...More Button

Was asked: when a remedial teacher will be appointed to a cluster of primary schools (details supplied) in Ballina, County Mayo.More Button

Was asked: the extent, if any, to which he has reviewed the need for remedial teachers in County Kildare in both urban and rural settings; the proposals, if any, he has to meet the requirements as set out by the...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 331, 333, 338, 341 and 366 together. I am currently reviewing provision across the special needs area, including the remedial teacher area, to ensure that all availabl...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: the position regarding an application by a school (details supplied) in County Cork for additional classroom accommodation.More Button

A member of my Department's architectural service visited the school referred to by the Deputy last week to assess the school's accommodation needs and a report is in preparation.More Button

Written Answers. - Teaching Qualifications.

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has to recognise Montessori trained teachers as fully qualified teachers in the primary school system; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Teachers with the Montessori qualification which is awarded on completion of the three year full-time course in the Association Montessori Internationale — AMI — College in Milltown, Dublin are recogn...More Button

Written Answers. - Higher Education Grants.

Was asked: whether maintenance grants will be available to post leaving certificate students in the 1998-99 academic year; the proposed level of grant to be provided; whether payment of these grants will commenc...More Button

Was asked: when he will notify vocational education committees of the new grants for post leaving certificate courses which he announced; the procedure that will be provided for applicants; if they will qualify ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 335 and 337 together.More Button

Written Answers. - Youth Services.

Was asked: if he will reward the excellent work done by the Scouting Ireland Association in a practical way by substantially increasing the amounts of funds allocated to the group; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

I acknowledge and place great value on all aspects of the work carried out by Scouting Ireland CSI. My Department has made £313,000 available in 1998 to Scouting Ireland CSI for the provision of yout...More Button

Written Answers. - School Building Projects.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to sanction the commencement of Rockfield national school, Coolaney, County Sligo; the commencement date of the project; the timescale involved; the amount of funds allocated...More Button

I recently authorised my Department's planning and building unit to commence the planning process for a major capital project at Rockfield national school, Coolaney, County Sligo.More Button

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has for a new primary school (details supplied) in County Kerry; the scale of the proposed new school; and the consequences, if any, envisaged for adjoining schools.More Button

There are four primary schools in the area of Kerry referred to by the Deputy. It is accepted by my Department that, due to the poor state of repair of the all-boys school, it has become necessary to...More Button

Written Answers. - Higher Education Grants.

Was asked: if he will review the application for the supplementary grant for a person (details supplied) in County Sligo in view of the fact that he depends on this grant to cover his expenses; if he will make a...More Button

Under the terms of the third level student support schemes, the reckonable income for the purposes of the award of a grant is gross income from all sources of the candidate and his or her parents or g...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: if he will sanction the necessary finance to provide a general purpose room at Edenmore national school (details supplied) in County Monaghan in view of the fact that it is urgently needed; when plann...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide funding for a general purpose room at a school (details supplied) in County Monaghan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 343 and 356 together. The pace at which general purpose facilities can be extended to all schools is dictated by the financial resources available. The priority has t...More Button

Written Answers. - Government Programme.

Was asked: the specific commitments, if any, set out in An Action Programme for the Millennium which have been implemented in full; the commitments, if any, implemented in part; the commitments, if any, initiate...More Button

A summary of the material requested by the Deputy is as follows:More Button

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Was asked: the age regulations, if any, in place for children with special needs to complete their secondary education; if he has considered alteration of these regulations; and if he will make a statement on th...More Button

The rules for secondary schools define a “recognised pupil” as a pupil: who is not less than 12 years of age on the 1st day of January of the school year; who, as a rule, has completed a full course o...More Button

Was asked: the waiting period for children who have been assessed for placement in special schools; the demand for these placements; if he has satisfied himself that adequate places are available; and if he will...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 119 of 25 March 1998, the number of children awaiting placement in special national schools; if he will give a breakdown of the waiting period; and if he will mak...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 346 and 348 together. Details of the number of children awaiting placement across the special schools system and the waiting periods involved are not readily available...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Property.

Was asked: the progress, if any, made in relation to protecting the public interest in a property (details supplied) in Dublin 3; the time schedule with regard to matters relating to this property; and if he wil...More Button

The property in question is subject to a yearly tenancy which terminates in December 1998. A notice to quit has been served on my behalf on the company tenant, the liquidator appointed to the company...More Button

Written Answers. - Resource Teachers.

Was asked: the benefits arising from the work of resource teachers in ordinary primary or second level schools, particularly in disadvantaged areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Resource teachers provide a support service to individual special needs pupils attending ordinary schools. These pupils present with a variety of special needs. While the schools in question may hav...More Button

Written Answers. - Third Level Charges.

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has to cap the capitation charge for third level colleges for the next five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In the context of the free fees initiative, a standardised charge of £150 was levied by the third level colleges in the 1995-96 academic year for examinations, registration and student services. This ...More Button

Written Answers. - Teaching Hours.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to compensate school management for the loss of teaching hours in schools resulting from the appointment of assistant principals under the PCW agreement in all second level s...More Button

Class contact for teachers in second level schools is 22 hours per week. There is no provision in the voluntary secondary sector for a reduction in class contact hours for assistant principals. In th...More Button

Written Answers. - Youth Services.

Was asked: if he will increase the level of funding to the National Youth Federation in order that it can get additional help to cope with the massive increase in the demand for its services; and if he will make...More Button

Due to the high level of ongoing commitments, my Department has not been in a position to increase the level of funding to the National Youth Federation in the current year. However, additional fundin...More Button

Written Answers. - Higher Education Grants.

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a second payment under the transnational aqua student placement scheme in view of the fact that the payment was due in February 1998.More Button

This does not come under my remit as the transnational aqua student placement scheme falls under the Leonardo Da Vinci programme which is under the auspices of the European Commission. However, I have...More Button

Written Answers. - Job Sharing Scheme.

Was asked: the discussions, if any, his Department has had with post-primary schools which are in an over-quota position and will not be allocated eligible part-time hours for teachers who are on the job sharing...More Button

A permanent job sharing scheme for second level teachers has been agreed between my Department, the teacher unions and the managerial authorities at second level. The circular outlining the terms of ...More Button

Written Answers. - Guidance Counselling.

Was asked: the number of guidance counsellors employed in the voluntary secondary, vocational education committee, community and comprehensive schools; and the corresponding total number of pupils in each case.More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is given in the following table.More Button

Written Answers. - Teacher Remuneration.

Was asked: the reason for the delay in sanctioning a VEC approved recognition of eight years relevant experience outside of education for a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9; and the further information, if ...More Button

My Department notified County Dublin VEC on 6 January 1995 that incremental credit was not payable in this case as the previous experience was not deemed relevant to career guidance teaching. This de...More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: if he will confirm his Department's acceptance of the validity of the enrolment figures submitted to his Department on 30 September 1997 for St. Patrick's boys' national school, Mallow, County Cork, i...More Button

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department has sanctioned the retention of the sixth assistant teacher's post at St. Patrick's boys' national school for the 1998-9 school year. The board of ...More Button

Written Answers. - Stay Safe Programme.

Was asked: the percentage of schools that have implemented the Stay Safe programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the percentage of primary school pupils that have taken part in the Stay Safe programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Approximately 80 per cent of primary schools are teaching the Stay Safe programme. Over 85 per cent of schools have arranged parent meetings, and, in light of this, I am confident that the number of s...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: the decision, if any, taken regarding the extra facilities required at St. Patrick's College, Naas, County Kildare, or in lieu thereof, arising from the evaluation of primary and post primary educatio...More Button

The application for extra accommodation at St. Patrick's post-primary school, Naas, is being examined by my Department's planning and building unit. To fully evaluate this application further specifi...More Button

Written Answers. - Teaching Posts.

Was asked: the extent, if any, to which he has reviewed the need for remedial teachers in County Kildare in both urban and rural settings; the proposals, if any, he has to meet the requirements as set out by the...More Button

Ex-quota remedial posts are allocated to second level schools on the basis of priority of need and having regard to existing provision within schools and the recommendations of my Department's psychol...More Button

Written Answers. - Apprenticeship Training.

Was asked: the discussions, if any, which have taken place with the military authorities with a view to co-operation in order to get maximum benefit from the facilities at the School of Apprenticeship, Devoy Bar...More Button

The education and training of apprentices is in the main provided for in the institutes of technology. Plans for an increase in this provision are under discussion with the sector. The plans do not ...More Button

Written Answers. - Pupil-Teacher Ratio.

Was asked: the average pupil to teacher ratio in County Kildare in relation to primary schools; the schools with a higher ratio; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is being compiled from records within my Department and will be forwarded to him in due course. The pupil-teacher ratio at national level is 21.7 to 1 in the c...More Button

Was asked: the average pupil to teacher ratio in County Kildare in respect of second level schools; the schools with a higher ratio; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The average pupil-teacher ratio in second level schools in County Kildare in the current school year is 16.6:1. This takes account of the total teacher allocation to schools including, where relevant,...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: whether a date has been set for the commencement of site works in relation to the provision of the proposed new girls, post primary school in Celbridge, County Kildare; the likely obstacles, if any, t...More Button

Tenders have now been invited for the new post-primary school in Celbridge. It is not possible at this stage to say when construction will commence.More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the possible start up date for the provision of the extra facilities required at Scoil Mhuire, Clane, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Approval has been given to the design team to proceed to stage 4-5, detailed design — bill of quantities, of architectural planning for the project in Clane. It is not possible at this stage to say w...More Button

Was asked: the decision, if any, which has been taken regarding the extra facilities required at St. Mary's College, County Kildare, or in lieu thereof, arising from the evaluation of primary and post-primary ed...More Button

My Department's post-primary building unit is awaiting the stage 4 submission, detailed design, from the schools authorities in respect of the proposed extension of 1,372 square metres at St. Mary's C...More Button

Was asked: the decision, if any, which has been taken in regard to the extra facilities required at Naas CBS, or in lieu thereof, arising from the evaluation of primary and post-primary education needs in Naas, ...More Button

The proposed extension to Naas CBS to provide overall accommodation for an enrolment of 800 pupils is being planned by my Department's planning and building unit. However, the school authorities hav...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Property.

Was asked: if he will be seeking tenders for the use of a building (details supplied) in Dublin 3; if so, when tenders will be sought; the procedures involved in this regard; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

The property in question is subject to a yearly tenancy which terminates in December 1998. A notice to quit has been served on my behalf on the company tenant, the liquidator appointed to the company...More Button

Written Answers. - Teachers' Remuneration.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the salary conditions for national teachers appointed to special education can be greatly inferior to that of their colleagues in ordinary national sch...More Button

All fully qualified temporary and permanent primary teachers are remunerated by reference to the basic common salary scale irrespective of whether appointed to special schools or mainsteam schools. ...More Button

Written Answers. - Youth Services.

Was asked: if he has received a request for funding at the rate of £1 per hour for the 6,000 adult voluntary leaders who devote approximately 500 hours per year looking after children who are members of Scouting...More Button

My Department has received the request referred to by the Deputy. Unfortunately, due to the high level of ongoing commitments it is not possible to consider the request at this time. However, if addi...More Button

Written Answers. - Postgraduate Students.

Was asked: the number of postgraduate university degrees currently being undertaken; the estimated numbers involved who are currently in employment.More Button

There are 6,743 students enrolled in full-time postgraduate degree programmes in the university sector in the 1997-98 academic year. In addition there are 2,396 students enrolled in part-time postgra...More Button

Written Answers. - Teaching Qualifications.

Was asked: the changes, if any, made or under consideration to remove the necessary requirement to have Irish qualifications for primary teachers from Northern Ireland working as special class teachers; if the s...More Button

My Department recently issued Circular 19/98 which details the new arrangements concerning the employment of teachers in special schools and special classes attached to ordinary national schools. Und...More Button

Written Answers. - Youth Services.

Was asked: the reason the original allocation for the youth affairs section of his Department was insufficient in view of his admission that a Supplementary Estimate is needed for this section.More Button

Financial support made available by my Department to voluntary organisations in the youth sector is in the form of grant-in-aid towards the overall costs incurred. The overall level of resources made...More Button

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has for the use of Scoil Cholumbáin, Bishopstown, Cork as a school for the teaching of severely and profoundly handicapped children; and the assistance, if any, given to the Bish...More Button

I am pleased to confirm that arrangements are being made to open a new school for children with special needs at the Scoil Cholumbáin premises from September next. The new school, which will be calle...More Button

Written Answers. - Multi-denominational Schools.

Was asked: the steps, if any, taken at his Department to give effect to the welcome announcement he made in Galway recently regarding capital funding for non-denominational project schools; and if he will make a...More Button

I am involved in discussions with the Minister for Finance on the question of State ownership of new primary schools. In these discussions, I am drawing on the work of the Commission on School Accomm...More Button

Was asked: his views on the arrangements in place to meet the increasing demand for non-denominational and multi-denominational education at primary level; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There are no non-denominational State recognised primary schools in the State. The position regarding multi-denominational schools is that a parent group wishing to establish such a school is require...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to developments in the area of multi-denominational and non-denominational education in Northern Ireland; whether he has discussed these developments with his counterpa...More Button

The Department of Education and Science and the Department of Education in Northern Ireland are in regular contact with a view to examining and promoting opportunities for co-operation in the area of ...More Button


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