ICT Funding for Post Primary (at last)

imageAdrienne Webb on the RTE News

It’s great to hear that the cheques have gone out to post primary schools for ICT.  Each school is getting a base grant of €1,700 and a payment of €63.45 per student. DEIS schools will receive a higher basic grant of €2,550 and for the first time, fee paying schools are getting a 50% payment for ICT (see Indo article).

This was a long time coming and many principals and teachers were beginning to think that it wouldn’t come at all.  One of the objectives of the Smart Schools=Smart Economy report was that schools would have some certainty, with ICT funding established on a multi-annual basis.  However, the delay in releasing money has meant that schools have been unable to plan too far ahead and not able to commit to a planned process of investment.  It took Ferdia Kelly of the JMB going public to get the money released.  Well done also to Adrienne Webb on her TV and radio appearances (if you missed these, click here).

When the Tanaiste made the announcement two weeks ago, she emphasised the Government’s commitment to providing “the kind of high-tech hardware needed” to ensure that “technology becomes an integral part of the learning process at an early age”.   There is a concern that this funding is very much focussed on equipment and not enough on making sure that teachers are supported to really embed ICT in their classrooms.  Yes, it is great to get the money to buy the equipment, but schools do require more than a day’s workshop if we are to see this money being put to good use.  We are looking forward to hearing what the implementation group for Smart School=Smart Economy come up with. Signals from the Department of Education and Skills are that they want to get this right and there are a number of heavy hitters around the table.  We hope it doesn’t  get overshadowed by the current spending cuts and turn out to be another talking shop. This might be our last chance to get this right for a long time to come.

The NCTE is sticking to the same formula as with primary schools, with the emphasis on a “fixed digital projector and teaching computer” for each classroom but they have relented somewhat and now recognise Interactive Whiteboards as being a legitimate expense (someone must be listening). 

It is now almost a year since the primary schools got their Smart Schools money (in the days running up to Christmas).  Will we see something similar happen this year??? 

For further information on the post primary grant, go tohttp://www.ncte.ie/ictgrant2010postprimary/

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