Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien TD today welcomed the publication of the SOLAS Further Education and Training Strategy but added that while it was a good starting point, it needed to have sufficient resources allocated, and further called on the Minister to work with teaching staff if he intended to extend their hours.
Deputy O’Brien said:
“Sinn Féin broadly welcomes the publication of this strategy as a way of ensuring there are options for people who want to go in to further education, whether this is after leaving school or after being made unemployed.
“However, it remains to be seen exactly how much will be allocated to the implementation of this strategy.
“While recognising that there is a skills deficit amongst a particular cohort of the population, I have concerns that the main focus of education policy these days is catering towards what business wants.
“Those in further education should have broader options than only tech and business courses.
“Further to this, if the Minister intends to compel teaching staff in the FET sector to work all year round, I am calling on him to engage with the trade unions.
“This strategy is ambitious, and teachers must be supported sufficiently if they are expected to deliver root and branch reform of the Further Education system.”