Saturday, 13 December 2008

460 education jobs to go

WITH the Review of Public Administration winding it’s merry, if slightly sluggish way in shaking off the bureaucratic clutter of governance in Northern Ireland, the latest RPA announcement was from Education Minister Catriona Ruane on the Education Skills Authority.

The proposal is to merge all five education and library boards into a single entity.

With news that up to 460 jobs may be lost, the Assembly second stage debate on the Education Bill drew the ire of trade unionists and new friends of the Tories, the Ulster Unionists.

NIPSA pledged to ‘fight the case for proper staffing levels’ while UUP MLA Basil McCrea was keen to end what he claimed was a Sinn Féin centralising agenda.

McCrea claimed the ESA would be the biggest quango in Europe. He did have a pop at his DUP fellow MLAs, saying they’d adopted a ‘soft approach’ but had had assurances no side deal had been done with Sinn Féin.

Which of course leads to all sorts of confusion when the ESA comes to look at maths: five into one goes how many times. Or five into three goes how many times? The Council for Curriculum Examinations and Assessment might start thinking about setting a new 11+…for MLAs.

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