Dáil Éireann - Volume 553 - 26 June, 2002

Written Answers. - Schools Modernisation Fund.

  102. Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Science the specific proposals he has to meet the commitment given in An Agreed Programme for Government, to ensure that every school attains set modern standards; the proposed set standards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14747/02]

  Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): The process of sustained investment in educational infrastructure, begun by the previous Government, will be continued as outlined in the agreed programme for Government. This will be achieved through a multi-annual programme to be called the schools' modernisation fund. This scheme will be financed through the National Development Finance Agency and the maximum use of public private partnership arrangements as appropriate.

  Last January my Department started preparing a comprehensive inventory of accommodation in order to ensure the long-term planning of capital provision through a precise and detailed identification of accommodation needs in all schools. This pilot scheme includes the production of site and building survey drawings and general building condition reports of 115 primary and post-primary schools in County Kildare. The resulting information will be compiled on a geographic information system database.

  Each school in the pilot area will be surveyed by suitably qualified personnel who will assess and report on site conditions, space norms within the schools and the overall condition of each school. All of the data accumulated will be stored electronically on the GIS database and used to prioritise capital funding for first and second level projects.

  The pilot project is expected to be completed by September. It is intended to use experience gained in the pilot phase of the project to expand the inventory nationwide.