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SF Education Spokesperson Jonathan O'Brien welcomes passing of Further Education Training Bill

13 June, 2013 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien has welcomed this week’s passing in the Dáil at Report Stage the Further Education Training Bill (FETB) 2013.

Describing the legislation as “very progressive”, Deputy O’Brien said the FET Bill will be instrumental in shaping the future direction of the FET sector for years to come.

He continued: “A lot of hard work has gone into refining this legislation. Strong arguments were made at all stages of the Bill passing to ensure it was drafted in such a way to make its objectives as inclusive as possible, with a particular focus on adult learners and people with literacy difficulties.

“From the start our emphasis was to ensure the FET Bill provided enhanced levels of support for marginalised learners who were least well served by the education and training systems in the past.

“The passing of the FET Bill commits this and future governments to the promotion of equality of opportunity in Further Education and Training. It ensures there will be close consultation with learners and community education providers with learner representation on the SOLAS Board and that SOLAS develop a strategy for the promotion and development of adult literacy and numeracy.

“In achieving these aims, the input from the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) and the Irish National Adult Learning Organisation (AONTAS) proved invaluable and I would like to commend the work of both these organisations and the work they do in the community education sector.

“The FET Bill is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the state to raise adult literacy and numeracy levels and to the credit of Ministers Ruairí Quinn and Ciaran Cannon they took on board the majority of the most important amendments that were put forward by Sinn Féin and others.

“Despite adult literacy being a top priority in FET since the publication of the White Paper in 2000, adult literacy and numeracy levels in Ireland are unacceptably poor. The passing of the FET Bill will, I hope, put in place a coordinated response at national level that will greatly improve matters and ensure enhanced opportunities for adult learners.”

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