FG calls for cut in VECs to 20


THE NUMBER of Vocational Education Committees (VECs) nationwide should be reduced from 33 to 20 under plans unveiled by Fine Gael education spokesman, Brian Hayes.

Mr Hayes said “the idea that, in a country the size of greater Manchester, we need 33 separate administrative structures to run just one sector of education is a luxury that we cannot afford in the current climate and is something which has been crying out for reform for many years.’’

The Fine Gael move follows on from the McCarthy report which proposed cutting the number of VECs to 22. Minister for Education, Batt O’Keeffe, has also signalled his support for cuts in the VEC sector. Last night, a spokesman said the Minister intends to bring his plan for the reconfiguration of the VECs to Government in the coming months. He accused Mr Hayes of being “a late converter to Government policy”. Spending in the vocational sector has increased from €731 million in 2005 to €949 million this year. Some 87 per cent of this is teachers’ pay.