The Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) announced last week it had put the issuing of Fás certificates on hold in early November until the causes of errors found in assessment and certification data are resolved.
Ms Coughlan told the Dáil that 10 of the 17 Fás centres involved have now been visited and FETAC expects to complete its visits to the other centres by the end of the year. “I understand that around 7,700 learners are experiencing delays of approximately three weeks in receiving their certificates. Every effort will be made to resolve any issues identified as quickly as possible so learners can receive their certificates with the minimum of further delay.”
She stressed that the issues relate to how results or other information is entered under a new training standards system and how data is processed, rather than any question about the quality of courses. It was confirmed last week that apprenticeship courses and construction skills schemes are not affected, and 1,300 related certificates have now been issued.
The Tánaiste also told TDs that 18,000 third-level grant recipients would be affected by the extension of the distance they must live from college to qualify for higher ‘non-adjacent’ grant payments from 15 to 24 miles next year. The measure announced as part of the budget will save €30 million a year and almost half of the €22m cut to spending on third-level student support next year, with another €8m saved through a 4% cut to grant rates.