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Tipperary Vocational Education Committee’s Worried

Vocational Education Committee’s (VEC) ( Coiste Gairmoideachais) are a Irish statutory local education body that administers some secondary education and most adult education here in the state. VEC’s were originally created by the Vocational Education Act 1930, as successors to the Technical Instruction Committees established by the Agriculture and Technical Instruction (Ireland) Act 1899.

Mary Coughlan TD

The original purpose of the committees was to administer continuation and technical education for 14 to 16 year-olds and were charged with the duty of setting up and maintaining  Vocational Schools.

This month the Department of Education and Skills  announced that the number of VEC’s are to be reduced from 33 to 16 by amalgamation. In relation to the county of Tipperary the amalgamation of our two VECs will be as follows:-
North Tipperary amalgamated with County Clare.
South Tipperary amalgamated with City of Waterford and County Waterford.

The McCarthy Report An Bord Snip Nua recommended that the number of VEC’s be reduced from 33 to 22 countrywide, but the Minister for Education and Skills Mary Coughlan TD has now reduced the numbers down to a total of 16.

It is interesting to note that these changes did not effect the current Ministers for Education, Mary Coughlan TD’s own constituents in County Donegal, nor indeed the former Minister for Education, Bartholomew “Batt” O’Keeffe TD’s own constituents in County Cork.

I am at pains at this stage to point that both Batt and Moll, in this action, would not be attempting to curry favour with their local electorate, since both will loose their seats in the forthcoming elections anyway. Both TD’s as we know are committed to promoting equity and inclusion not to mention lifelong learning, while providing education that is relevant to personal, social, cultural and the economic needs of England, Australia, USA and Canada, since no jobs are available here in Ireland.

Announcing the decision to reduce the number of committees Ms Coughlan said that this Government move – “Is part of the Government’s overall agenda to transform how our Public Services are delivered. This consolidation ensures that each of the 16 VEC’s will be organisations of sufficient scale so as to support the evolution of local education service delivery, and to meet future challenges. VEC’s have traditionally demonstrated a flexibility and responsiveness to changing and emerging needs. I see these changes as strengthening the sector for the undoubted challenges that lie ahead and positioning our VECs as key providers of education services locally.”

Needless to state, members of North and South Tipperary Vocational Education Committee’s are understandably ‘up in arms’ following this announcement.

Meanwhile back at the ranch in neighbouring Co.Clare, a cross party motion, which received the support of a number of Fianna Fáil councillors, outlined opposition to the proposed amalgamation at their recent County Council meeting. Indeed a number of Fianna Fáil County Councillors have suddenly dropped their party allegiances and have begun a campaign to oppose this new proposed amalgamation on the grounds that Clare VEC had been one of the most successful public sector operations in Clare in recent years.

This campaign has nothing to do with the fact that Vocational Education Committee’s are elected by the County, Borough or Urban District Council and consist partly of councillors and partly of persons with an “interest in education.” Motor and attendance expenses to VEC meetings also have nothing to do whatsoever with this sudden drop in party allegiance.

God save us from greed, creeps, snake-oil salesmen and spoofers. We do not need any VEC’s, we have an excellent corrupt educational body called FAS already looking after those interested in manufacturing or in training for trades. Let’s get rid of VEC’s altogether Mary.

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