Tuesday, 22 March 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
553. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science the assistance by way of child care facilities, grants for books and so on offered to those who wish to return to adult education; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8807/05]
Minister for Education and Science (Ms Hanafin): Tuition is generally free to eligible students participating in full-time adult education programmes funded by my Department. Means-tested maintenance grants are available to higher education and PLC students. Full-time students on Youthreach, senior traveller training and VTOS programmes receive a training allowance and allowances towards the cost of travel and meals. Books and materials are provided free of charge or at nominal cost.
In the part-time back to education initiative which is aimed at providing flexible learning opportunities for those in employment, unemployed or not in the labour market, provision is free for medical card holders, the unemployed and those in receipt of means-tested welfare payments and their dependants. There is a reduced charge for other unwaged people with less than upper secondary education.
Grants are also provided for VECs to enable them to support especially disadvantaged students on a discretionary basis by providing assistance towards the cost of fees, books, materials, travel and meals. A guidance service is available in some areas for adults in VTOS, literacy, community education and other adult education programmes. This service will be extended to other areas of the country with effect from September 2005. Special supports are made available to students with disabilities.
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