Castlebar College of Further Education (CCFE ) has reacted positively to the announcement by the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn, that the provision of the free pre-school programmes is to be doubled within the lifetime of the Government.
The Early Childhood Care and Education Department in CCFE—who are the leading providers of early childhood care and education training in Mayo—are giving a welcome to this development. College lecturer Frances Hogan is broadly positive: “We welcome the Minister’s emphasis on the importance of up-skilling practitioners in early-years services and that Ruairí Quinn is aspiring to the Scandinavian model of early education where currently their practitioners have three years’ training. Frankly, in Ireland, we are in the ‘neonatal’ stage of qualitative education and care for our children but, saying that, this is definitely a step in the right direction.”
She added: “Currently in Ireland, only 50 per cent of childcare practitioners are required to have completed one-year FETAC Level 5 childcare provision courses: this compares with 100 per cent of practitioners, with a minimum of three years’ training, in Scandinavian countries. CCFE currently offers courses over two years in FETAC Levels 5 and 6 in early childhood care and education and welcomes the opportunity to provide training to those already in practice.”