Monday 18 December 2017

Education body refuses certs to FAS students

Patricia McDonagh

THE education authority responsible for certifying further education courses last night confirmed it is refusing to issue certificates to students who complete FAS courses.

FETAC is withholding the certificates until the controversial state agency completes its national audit later this month.

The revelation comes in the wake of a storm of controversy at the scandal-hit agency over courses it provided to students.

In reply to a parliamentary question from Fine Gael's Fergus O'Dowd, Education Minister Mary Coughlan confirmed that FETAC was withholding the certificates.

"FETAC are now conducting an examination of the issues with FAS, involving visits to all FAS centres that request certificates from FETAC.

"Pending the finalisation of their examination and to ensure that errors do not occur on certificates, FETAC have decided to place a temporary hold on issuing certificates to FAS learners in respect of award types which may be subject to the errors encountered," she added.

"It is expected that the FETAC examination will be concluded later this month."

However, Mr O'Dowd, insisted last night that the announcement was another "damming indictment" of FAS.

"The fact that it is refusing to issue certificates to FAS pending the outcome of investigations is not only the latest in a long line of embarrassing bombshells to hit the state training agency, but once again calls into question the viability of it,"he said. "In the longer run, FAS must be abolished."

FAS said in a statement last night it " is making significant progress in the implementation of its new Training Standards System and in dealing with the backlog of certificates.

"During this exercise processing issues in respect of a small number of courses have been identified. Certificates will therefore not issue to any qualifying learners until these matters are resolved. .

"FAS is fully investigating these matters and dealing with them as quickly as possible to avoid any further undue delays for its learners."

Irish Independent

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