Speaking on the Reports on ‘Good governance and enhanced quality in education’ and ‘Raising the status of vocational Education and Training’ at the Council of Europe’s Plenary Session this week, Fine Gael TD for Cavan and Monaghan and Leader of the Irish Delegation to the Council of Europe, Deputy Joe O’Reilly, broadly welcomed the provisions outlined in the Reports.

The Deputy, who also holds the position of Vice-Chairman of the European Peoples Party (EPP), was chosen to represent and speak on the group’s behalf, during the session. ‘I would first like to welcome both of these Reports to the Council Chamber and on behalf of the EPP, congratulate the Rapporteur’s Mr Piotr Wach and Mr Paolo Corsini. The first report emphasises the need for quality assurance in education, with a particular emphasis on the university sector. In my view, there is a strong case for pedagogical training for university teachers, particularly those dealing with undergraduates. Needless to say, academic excellence and research are vital, but anecdotal evidence suggests that there is a need for more teaching skills and pastoral care training in our university sector.’

‘Generally, there is a teacher evaluation process in primary and secondary education, with in-service training for teachers, which is of course necessary. In States within our Council of Europe sphere where that does not exist, I hope that we can encourage it to be started. Teacher education qualifications pay and career paths are vital. The first report rightly emphasises the importance of childcare support for equality of access to third-level education. In the governance of our schools, we need truly democratic structures in which all stakeholders can be brought together. As has already been emphasised, all our schools require equality of access for everyone,’ continued the Deputy.

Commenting on Mr Wach’s Report, on vocational education and training the Deputy said ‘Many young people in their mid-teens – mostly males – are frustrated by academic education and by the academic orientation of their schools and courses. We therefore have a high dropout rate and a high level of underperformance. For continued economic development, it is crucial to continue to produce quality goods and services; hence the need for vocational training. That is also vital to fight unemployment and to deal with skills shortages. The recovery of the economy of my own country clearly demonstrates a skills shortage in construction.’

‘There should be a very visible public awards system for vocational education and training, with high-profile graduations, good pay for graduates of such courses, and educational pathways to enhance their status and continuing opportunities to encourage them to remain in lifelong education. The German dual system of vocational education is a very good model to look at’ stated Deputy O’Reilly.

The Deputy concluded with the topic of apprenticeships, an issue that he has spoken about extensively at the European Affairs Committee, in Leinster House, ‘It is sometimes difficult to get apprenticeships, so there should be a stimulus for conditions in which apprenticeships can be done outside the traditional master-apprentice system. IT skills should be included in apprenticeships and vocational training. Where possible, if people have the necessary aptitude, there should be a continuing element of academic education, rather than a divergence between two systems. All in all, I welcome the two reports, which offer exciting potential for countries that adopt their contents.’


For more information contact the Deputy on 086 24443321

Note to Editors:


‘Raising the status of vocational Education and Training’

Rapporteur: Mr Piotr Wach, Poland, Group of the European People’s Party.

Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media

Link to Report

Good governance and enhanced quality in education’

Rapporteur: Mr Paolo Corsini, Italy, Socialist Group.

Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media

Link to Report-

Senator Joe O'Reilly representing Cavan & Monaghan 2010. | An ExSite website