Dáil Éireann - Volume 473 - 23 January, 1997

Written Answers. - Education Grants.

[1467] 59. Mr. B. Smith asked the Minister for Education if a scheme of grant assistance will be introduced to assist with the promotion and teaching of Irish music, particularly for the school-going population where substantial costs arise in relation to the purchase of musical instruments, uniforms and tuition; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24858/96]

Minister for Education (Ms Bhreathnach): Voluntary secondary schools are funded on the basis of a per capita grant in respect of each recognised pupil. Vocational schools and community colleges are funded by means of a block grant made to the vocational education committees to cover a wide range of activities. Community and comprehensive schools are funded by means of an annual budget.

A special scheme of music grants is available to voluntary secondary schools for the purchase and upkeep of orchestral instruments and for the payment of bonuses to school choirs and orchestras which take part in the Department's annual examinations. Irish music features strongly in these activities.

A number of vocational education committees organise music tuition on an individual and class basis whereby a percentage of students are involved in the playing and singing of traditional Irish music and song.

These schemes are now under review in order to provide a more efficient and equitable service. This review would, of course, involve the promotion and teaching of Irish music.