ETB Legislation Passes Through Oireachtas
The Education and Training Boards Act has been signed by the President and awaits commencement. The Act provides for the establishment of 16 new education and training boards to replace the soon to be dissolved VECs. The ETBs will have significantly greater functions than VECs and will also take on the current training functions of FAS when the 16 FAS training centres are transferred to the ETBs.
The current 33 VECs will be dissolved and the 16 ETBs will be established once Minister Quinn decides on the establishment date which is generally expected to be mid-year. IVEA is also about to change its name to ETBI—Education and Training Boards Ireland. The name change has been agreed and will shortly be formally launched. ETBI is defined in the ETB Bill as “Education and Training Boards Ireland” means the association established to collectively represent education and training boards and promote their interests, which is recognised by the Minister for the purposes of this Act.” Section 10(5) of the Bill provides that the Minister may request Education and Training Boards Ireland to–
(a) make representations on behalf of an education and training board in respect of its functions, (b) conduct surveys in respect of information sought by the Minister in respect of the performance of functions by education and training boards, and (c) give such assistance to an education and training board as the Minister considers necessary for the effective discharge of its functions. (6) In this section “youth work” has the same meaning as it has in the Youth Work Act 2001.
“The passing of the Education and Training Boards Bill heralds the start of the most significant structural reform of the education and training sector for decades” says general secretary Michael Moriarty. “With the establishment of ETBs this country will have a new middle tier of education authorities empowered to provide a range of education and training services including services to schools and colleges in all sectors if requested. ETBs will be both support and delivery agencies having a real and significant impact on communities within their catchment areas'” concludes Mr Moriarty.
The SOLAS Bill has already been before the Dáil Select Committee and is progressing to Report Stage. The Bill will dissolve FAS and replace with SOLAS which will have strategic oversight and funding functions. FAS training delivery is transferring to ETBs as indicated above.