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Prometheus's Fire: Abstracts

Chapter 20: the Vocational Education Act 1930

Michael Farry

The author, who is of the legal profession, gives some background to the Act, in terms of the post-Treaty Government and the 1929 world economic crisis.

The term 'vocational' was introduced, somewhat implicitly, to expand the earlier term 'technical' as used in the 1901 Act, and to include 'continuation education' in its scope.

Attention is given to the role of the Church, which though nominally excluded, in practice provided the Chairs of most of the Vocational Education Committees (VECs), and had written reassurances from the Minister that the system would not encroach on the markets of the Church-controlled secondary schools.

The Act did not cover apprenticeship, which was covered separately, with the 1931 Act. Finance and buildings were provided for.

The author goes at some length into the lack of provision for effectively linking the system into the needs of agriculture and industry, leading to a continuous creeping bias towards academic aspirations, motivated perhaps by a perceived need to counter its 'B-stream' status in society.

This latter perception has been moderated by the emergence of the Regional Colleges as positive generators of local entrrpreneurial initiatives.

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