Tuesday, 26 April 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
113. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of children who leave school before sitting the junior certificate examination for the most recent year for which statistics are available; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12972/05]
Minister for Education and Science (Ms Hanafin): The most recent published analysis by my Department of school retention in Ireland was released in August 2004. The report indicates that of those who commenced the junior cycle programme in September 1994, approximately 3,600 or 5.7% left school before completing the junior certificate three years later.
My Department’s approach to addressing the issue of retention in schools comprises legislative and curricular reforms as well as interventions to prevent early school leaving. The Education (Welfare) Act 2000 established the National Educational Welfare Board, NEWB, as the single national body with responsibility for school attendance.
With regard to curriculum reform, my Department’s strategies have included widening the educational experience available to students through such programmes as the junior certificate schools programme, JCSP, the leaving certificate vocational programme, LCVP, and the leaving certificate applied, LCA.
The school completion programme directly targets those in danger of dropping out of the education system and is a key component of my Department’s strategy to discriminate positively in favour of children and young people who are at risk of early school leaving. It is important to note that education and training provision is available outside the formal school system for young people who leave school earlier in programmes such as Youthreach, Youth Encounter and FÁS.
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