At the December meeting of the Mayo Vocational Education Committee this week a number of the members raised their concerns about the raising of the pupil to teacher ratios for PLC courses as part of this year’s Budget. Dr Katie Sweeney CEO of Mayo VEC told that under the new budget proposals one of the most worrying items was the increase in pupil teacher ratios for PLC course from 17 to one, to 19 to one. She read out a letter from the Irish Vocational Education Association (IVEA ) that has been sent to the Minister for Education Ruari Quinn objecting to the increase and the outcomes.
Cllr Therese Ruane called the decision “a really regressive move for a progressive thing like the PLC course which act as a pathway for a lot of people into further education.”
Cllr Michéal McNamara said: “When you consider the amount of people who are unemployed and are looking to upskill and take on PLC courses as a part of that, this is going to hit them as the number of course, that will be on offer will end up lower.”
Dr Sweeney responded to the comments saying: “It’s going to be a staffing reduction no matter what way you look at it.” While Cllr Johnny O’Malley (Ballina ) said that “this flies in the face of what this Budget was supposed to be about, creating jobs.”
Chairperson of the committee, Cllr Jarlath Munnelly, said: “I agree with the IVEA position to challenge this, I’d like that we would be kept abreast of whatever arises from this. But cuts are being made and it’s a balancing act, and it has to be done here too.”