Many people have been asking us recently if the recent cutbacks will have an impact on the TeachNet project. The reality is that the NCTE has withdrawn its funding since last year. This is despite a commitment to funding for the project from the Minister Hanafin in 2007. While we weren’t surprised by this move, it is disappointing that the Department of Education and Science places such little value on a project that empowers practicing teachers to publish and share curriculum resources at minimal cost to the taxpayer. In the meantime, the same Department has chosen to spend up to €4.5 million on commercially developed reference materials without real evidence that teachers will require these resources.
While some in education look cynically at funding from commercial companies, TeachNet would not exist without the foresight of organisations like the Citigroup Foundation and Microsoft. If the Department of Education and Science is serious about engagement with the private sector in the development of ICT in education, perhaps they might come and talk to the people who have been doing it for eight years with considerable success?
In the meantime, TeachNet will continue to develop its range of teacher supports and provide free resources for teachers by teachers. A key part of our strategy is the development of online CPD courses for teachers. We will have a number of courses available for primary teachers this summer with EPV day approval. More details of these later, but please spread the word.