Dáil Éireann - Volume 482 - 18 November, 1997
Written Answers. - Education Technology Fund.
Mr. Daly Mr. Daly
277. Mr. Daly asked the Minister for Education and Science the way in which the areas where investment under the Education Technology Fund will be identified; if advice from local areas will be taken into account in deciding the priorities and programmes which will be assisted; whether the Business and Education Forum will be established on a regional basis; the special provision, if any, which will be made to deal with the specific problems of disadvantaged areas such as west and north Clare in view of the fact that population losses, lack of employment opportunities, below average levels of income and other problems have created significant disparities between this area and other areas in the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19566/97]
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin) Micheál Martin
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): In announcing the establishment of the £250 million investment fund I outlined the purposes for which moneys from the fund will be utilised.  These include capital projects relating to skills needs, infrastructure development particularly in the technological area, craft needs in the hotel and tourism industry, apprenticeships, research and development and third level equipment upgrading and renewals. The fund will also provide for capital investment in the post-leaving certificate vocational preparation area and for the provision of capital resources for the teaching of IT skills at first and second level.
In relation to the schools IT 2000 investment programme, the circumstances and the local needs of the individual schools will be fully taken into account. Each school will also be supported in developing its own technology programme with a view to ensuring that the broader educational aims are incorporated into the schools educational plan. The joint business education partnership forum will be widely representative at the highest levels of the business sector, the education sector, the trade unions, Government Departments and development agencies. It will provide a forum where all the key interests can examine practical and strategic issues, both national and regional.
In general the strategy of the fund is to support opportunities for growth nationally. Investment will occur at many levels; in the universities, the regional technical colleges and institutes of technology, further education and first and second level schools. It is expected that all areas will benefit to some extent not only from direct investment in schools and colleges in the locality, but also from the future economic growth which should result from the investment in education and technology.
Dáil Éireann 482 Written Answers. Education Technology Fund.