ICT Grant to Deis Band One Schools
In November 2008 the Minister for Education and Science launched a €1 million grant scheme for DEIS band 1 schools to help them acquire the Digital Schools Award. A great idea but with typical hamfistnedess only 100 of the 179 schools in this category were invited to apply. The social inclusion unit of the DES made the selection and the 100 schools received letters from the NCTE inviting them to apply for a grant. Surprisingly the grant has been increased to €1.5 million but the 100 schools has not been increased. The list of schools and the individual amounts allocated has now been published and the 100 schools will benefit quite nicely. But what about the others? If the school had already attained a Digital School Award they are excluded and of the remaining ones they have no idea why they were excluded. Indeed schools in the same area serving the same school population receive nothing. In one instance I am aware of, two schools directly across the street form each other – one for boys and one for girls – have a situation where one of them will receive over €17000 and other €0. How can this be? What kind of process is this that uses social exclusion? Who decided to only include 100 schools? Where is the transparency? I am baffled and disheartened. Shame on those who perpetrated this discrimination.