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Education and Training Boards Replace VECs

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    Sixteen  Education and Training boards (ETBs) have replaced the  33 Vocational Education Committees (VECs). that previously existed, VECs were established in 1930 by the Vocational Education Act with their original purpose being to provide continuation and technical education to 14 to 16 year olds. Over time the responsibilities of VECs increased particularly in the area of adult education, such as post-primary education and further education. In September 2008, County Dublin VEC opened its first community National School in Porterstown, Dublin 15 and this was the first time the VEC had been involved in primary school education.

    VECs also provided second level education to nearly 100,000 students in 247 schools and more than 200,000 adults participated in VEC adult and community education programmes each year. Through local VECs there has been a wide range of learning opportunities available to people who want to improve their qualifications and skills and to those wanting a second educational chance. Courses and training include full-time and part-time adult education programmes, night classes, skills for work programmes and adult literacy services.

    As well as taking over the responsibilities of the VECs, ETBs are responsible for SOLAS; a new further education and training authority that replaced FÁS.

    The list of ETBs is as follows:

    • City of Dublin ETB
    • Donegal ETB
    • Kerry ETB
    • Cork ETB
    • Galway and Roscommon ETB
    • Limerick and Clare ETB
    • Cavan and Monaghan ETB
    • Dublin and Dun Laoghaire ETB
    • Kildare and Wicklow ETB
    • Kilkenny and Carlow ETB
    • Laois and Offaly ETB
    • Longford and Westmeath ETB
    • Louth and Meath ETB
    • Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim ETB
    • Tipperary ETB
    • Waterford and Wexford ETB

    With this increase in responsibility of ETBs, there is the obvious question as to whether there will be sufficient support to cover all the areas that the VECs had previously covered. The changes are drastic; Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim are now all sharing one ETB when they used to have one VEC each and Limerick and Clare are now sharing one where there used to be three VECs between them. City of Dublin, Donegal and Kerry are the only headquarters to remain unaffected by the change. The government has estimated that these changes will result in savings of €2.1m annually and only time will tell if these departments can run as effectively as they hope.

    Find out more about Education and Training Boards at the ETB Ireland Website

    Fiona McBennett