Dormant Accounts to Assist Primary DEIS Urban Band 1

100 primary schools in the DEIS Urban band 1 received letters from the NCTE inviting them to apply for dormant accounts funding to assist them achieve digital schools status. The invited schools have to complete the self evaluation on the Digital Schools website, submit their school ICT plan and complete the application form with details of how the school would use the grant. What is remarkable about this scheme is that there are 178 schools in this category and there seems to be no transperancy about how the 100 schools were selected. Also any of the schools in the category with digital schools awards are not eligible. So in effect this initiative is not about the DEIS initiative to improve literacy and numeracy but is an attempt to inject some impetus into the Digital Schools Award. The list of ICT resources schools may spend the funds on does not include Inertactive Whiteboards. Does this reflect the NCTE thinking on interactive whiteboards? Strange considering how many schools are seeking to buy these devices. The total to be made available is €1 millon and school applications will be assessed by NCTE and DES and the maximum any school may be offered is €20k. Schools will receive letters of offer in early 2009 and then will have to purchase the equipment themselves, submit claims in Spring 2009 and then the grant will be paid in June 2009. This process will be very difficult for many of the schools as not many will have ready access of up to €20k to spend and then wait for the DES to pay the grant. But of most concern has to be the schools in the category that have not been invited to apply for the funding. There is some discrimanation at work and it has not been shown to be transparent. This meagre funding for ICT is probably all any school will see for the foreseeable future. Disgraceful!

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