Dramatic growth and rising costs
THE VEC system was established under legislation in 1930 to provide technical and vocational education.
Since then, the VEC sector has grown dramatically and last year cost more than €1bn to run.
Although often associated only with second-level schools, the VECs run a range of other services, including outdoor pursuit centres, Youthreach, prison education, senior traveller training centres, school transport arrangements.
Committees usually have nine councillors -- many TDs and senators cut their political teeth in VECs.