THE GOVERNMENT HAS pledged to invest millions of euro in the next decade to modernise and build new “state of the art” PE halls and science labs as part of an almost €12 billion investment in education.
The €11.9 billion investment package in education and training from 2018 to 2027 is part of the €116 billion plan announced in February which set out a 23-year vision for the country, Project Ireland 2040.
It promises an increase of 70% in school capital funding over the next ten years to build new schools and refurbish existing ones.
The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that he was particularly pleased with the investment in “state of the art” sports halls as PE is rolled out as a Leaving Certificate subject in the coming years.
“This ambitious and unprecedented level of investment – almost €12 billion – in our education sector will ensure our this generation of children and the next get the best possible start in life.
“We are taking a much longer-term view and linking investment with planning for the first time ever. In the education sector, that means we’re significantly increasing the amount we invest in our schools, colleges, and universities,” Varadkar said in a statement ahead of today’s official launch.
Along with the new and modernised sports halls, there will be a focus on refurbishing science labs with schools being able to make applications in 2019 as part of the next phase of the summer works scheme.
The government’s plan also estimates that some 600 prefabs will be replaced in the coming year under the prefab replacement programme.
‘The best in Europe by 2026′
The investment also covers third level education with a number of projects promised over the next decade.
They include the refurbishment of some technology and engineering facilities in Limerick IT, Dundalk IT and Limerick IT.
A €24 million investment has also been pledged towards a new €50million “future tech” facility in DCU.
“We are very grateful for this endorsement of our ambitious plans to develop talent that can flourish on the global stage in a world where technological innovation plays such a pivotal role,” DCU President, Brian MacCraith said.
The new development is expected to provide about 3,000 new student places while putting the university at the “leading edge” in relation to the development of skills in new technologies.
The first student intake to the “future tech” facility is earmarked for 2021.
The investment in education and training announced today is aimed at fulfilling the government’s plan of making “Irish education and training service the best in Europe by 2026,” according to Minister for Education Richard Bruton.
“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,” Bruton said.