The Government's further education and training body has published a strategy document to direct the development of further education in Ireland over the next five years.

SOLAS has made radical proposals on how courses are funded.

It said the current funding model should be replaced by one based on performance outcomes.

SOLAS said funding should be weighted in accordance with the type of course and how well it fulfils "a range of performance indicators".

The strategy also proposes extending the calendar of Post Leaving Certificate courses so that they run over the summer months.

PLC courses currently follow the academic September to June timetable.

This year will see 200,000 people enrol on a further education course.

The sector attracts an annual State spend of €826m, the bulk of which is spent through SOLAS.

Major reform has taken place in the sector in recent years.

This includes the closure of FÁS, a rationalisation of the number of VECs, now called ETBs, and the establishment of SOLAS.

This strategy sets out five goals for the sector.

They include developing skills needed by the economy, the active inclusion of people of all abilities, and the development of quality programmes.