Report on international school closures due this week

Thursday 29 May 2014 19.29
Students protesting outside one of the schools that closed in recent weeks
Students protesting outside one of the schools that closed in recent weeks

An interim report of the taskforce established to examine the recent closures of five international schools is due to be delivered to the Department of Education tomorrow.

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald will be sent the report.

Minister of State at the Department of Education Ciarán Cannon told the Dáil the taskforce was charged with assessing the scale of the problem.

He said they also looked at the number of genuine students who have not yet been accommodated, what capacity is in the system to accommodate students, and how such a system can be set up.

The students affected have had their visas extended by the Department of Justice so that they can continue to work to support themselves, he told the Dáil.

He said that a robust, quality framework is being set up. At the heart of this will be the international education mark, which will be introduced before the end of the year, he said.

Minister Cannon said he had a lot of sympathy for the students who have been left high and dry.

He agreed with Fianna Fáil's Charlie McConalogue that the issue could have serious repercussions for Ireland's image abroad.

Mr Cannon said education is one of the country's biggest exports.

To that end, he said, officials at both the Department of Enterprise and his own department are working to ensure the provision of a quality mark.

If a school is operating under that mark, it is operating to the very highest standards, he said.