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Sinn Féin call for Minister to appear before Education Committee to answer questions on PPS issue in schools

26 January, 2015 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Speaking following comments from the Data Protection Commissioner this week, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien said Minister Jan O’Sullivan has a ​duty to the public to provide clarity on the issue.

Deputy O’Brien said;

“Last year I asked a range of questions to the Minister for Education on the issue of schools holding PPS numbers and the Minister was very clear in replying that the Department taking and holding sensitive information including PPS numbers, until an individual turned 30, was in compliance with data protection legislation.

“However, the Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon has now said that the Department of Education has failed to produce an adequate explanation of why they need the data.

“I recognise the importance of data collection for the purposes of future planning, and we are not opposed to necessary and proportionate data collection but this is evolving in to a mess.

“Parents were sent letters saying that “If you do not consent to your child’s data being entered on POD then you should inform your school in writing that you do not wish to have your child’s information entered on POD, however from 2016/2017 this may have funding and teacher allocation implications for your school going forward”.

“It is wholly inappropriate that parents are basically threatened with having schools and positions defunded in this manner when there are major outstanding privacy, data security and educational concerns here.

“This is one of the largest data collection initiatives outside of the census and has serious flaws.

“I am calling on the Minister for Education to come before the Oireachtas Education Committee and answer questions on this matter as a matter of urgency as she has a duty to the public to do so​.”

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