Warnings against cuts to education board staff
on 13/09/2012 00:00:00
IVEA general secretary Michael Moriarty said key jobs like adult education officers remained unfilled in at least seven VECs because of the ban on public service recruitment and promotion, but there was a danger that the impact would be felt hardest by students if there were further losses.
"We can go far with efficiencies, but we must have sufficient human capital to maintain service delivery at an acceptable level," he told the IVEA annual congress in Co Cavan.
The ETBs will take over the work of the 33 VECs early next year, including the running of more than 250 second-level schools, the growing community national school sector, further education, Youthreach, and community and adult education programmes.
They will also assume responsibility for Fás training centres and their 800 staff under the guidance of the further education and training authority Solas.
"Perhaps the most critical challenge is to integrate staffs from different VECs and training centres into one staffing cohort. This will not be done on the cheap and we can learn from the errors of the past when this aspect of integration was not done as well as it should have been," said Mr Moriarty.
He said the creation of a distinct further education sector under Solas, and delivered by the ETBs, is the most extensive overhaul of Irish skills training in decades. However, he said the transfer of the 16 Fás training centres has not been fully appreciated, with an average of 22,000 learners engaging with them every month.
"The responsibility for this training will now rest with the ETBs, which must mean the footprint of the ETBs will be more pronounced in their local communities as they will have greatly extended responsibilities across the entire spectrum of education and training," he said.
The effects of the ban on middle-management promotions in schools were also discussed and IVEA assistant general secretary Deirdre Keogh said work like class timetables, monitoring student attendance, literacy and numeracy strategies, and the duties of year heads were being left to principals and their deputies in the absence of a well-resourced middle management structure.
"If the current chaos that surrounds in-school management is allowed to continue, it is only a matter of time before schools are sued for failing to meet their duty of care to students."