Posted by Schooldays Newshound, on 14/09/2018.
The Government has announced a major package of investment in education under Project Ireland 2040, the government’s €116 billion investment and development plan for the next decade.
This major investment will underpin the implementation of the Action Plan for Education, led by Minister Bruton, which is the government’s plan to make the Irish education and training service the best in Europe by 2026. Announcing this major investment in education, Minister Bruton said, “Education is central to, and indeed enables our overall objectives under Project Ireland 2040. Education is critical to planning for a strong, future-proofed economy, balanced across the regions and a fair society, removing barriers to opportunity.
“This €11.9billion investment reflects the importance this government puts on education and will enable our ambition to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe by 2026. We are investing in modern, state of the art facilities in our schools, higher and further education institutions, which are energy efficient and fit for purpose for the curricular reforms we are making. We are giving schools, higher and further education institutions more certainty over the grants they receive and better lead in times, making it easier to plan.
“Education is the engine behind strong regional growth, which is pivotal rebalancing growth as envisioned by the Project Ireland 2040. It is central to this government’s central objective, which is to provide for a strong economy and a fair society. The investment under the Project Ireland 2040 will have a transformative impact on our education system and take us further along our journey, to becoming the best in Europe.”
Overall vision for schools sector
Our ambition is to ensure that our children are being educated in modern, state of the art facilities that are fit for purpose and meet the needs of the reforms we are making to the curriculum that is being taught. We also want to give schools more certainty over the minor works and summer works grants they receive and better lead in times to make it easier for school communities to plan.
We will be investing €8.4 billion in school buildings over the lifetime of Project Ireland 2040.
We are:Increasing the school building budget by 70%. This will be targeted at delivering on the twin objectives of catering for the continued increase in demographics and a greater focus on refurbishment and upgrade of existing school stock. The government remain committed to delivering on existing projects on the school building programme as soon as possible.
Providing confirmation that, starting this year, all primary schools will receive the €29 million minor works grant in either December or early January of each school year. We are committing to putting in place a similar grant scheme at post-primary level over the lifetime of the Project Ireland 2040.
Committing to a Summer Works Scheme every year with schools being given better lead in periods for planning and delivering their projects. The Summer Works Scheme in 2019 will focus on the remaining categories of projects from the previous scheme. A new Summer Works Scheme will open for applications in early 2019 for projects to be delivered from Summer 2020 onwards. This new scheme will also facilitate a school laboratory modernisation programme.
Taking an integrated approach with the Prefab Replacement Scheme through the replacement of prefabs as part of large-scale projects or as part of new projects approved under the Additional Accommodation Scheme. Construction work on these projects in 2018 and 2019 will facilitate the replacement of over 600 prefabs.
The commencement and progression of a deep energy retrofit of primary and post-primary schools built prior to 2008 with a view to optimum energy use and conservation in school buildings. A pilot for such works has taken place already, in conjunction with SEAI, seeing participating schools benefitting from increased comfort levels and reduced energy bills. The next phase of the pilot scheme is being undertaken this year and in 2019. Both pilots will inform a rolling national programme of works to begin in earnest in 2022.
Project Ireland 2040 provides the investment necessary to implement the commitments in the Action Plan for Education to reform and modernise the school curriculum:
Committing to a PE Hall build and modernisation programme, starting in the second half of the Project Ireland 2040 period, that ensures that students in all post-primary schools have access to state of the art facilities to support PE provision, particularly also in the context of the roll-out of P.E. as a leaving certificate subject.
The next phase of the summer works scheme will facilitate a school laboratory modernisation programme, with schools being able to make applications in 2019
We will invest €420 million in our Digital Strategy for Schools to further embed technology and digital learning in our schools. This investment in ICT in schools will help underpin new subjects which we are introducing, including computer science at leaving cert and coding throughout the curriculum.
Read the full press release on: education.ie.