Over 2,600 students in primary and second level schools around the country will move into permanent accommodation from prefabs in 2014 under the Prefab Replacement Scheme.
The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., launched the biggest initiative ever undertaken to replace rented prefabs in schools in March 2012. The original scheme provided funding for the replacement of over 458 prefab units.
The second phase of the Prefab Replacement Initiative was announced in June 2013 and will allow 46 schools to replace 119 mainstream classrooms and 37 resource rooms. The cost is estimated at €15 million with the majority of the spend occurring in 2014.
Speaking today, Minister Quinn said: “The prefab replacement initiative has been a great success, with over €37.2 million spent to date, 129 projects completed, and a further 29 projects on site. While these are the figures, in reality it means that thousands of pupils and their teachers finally have a quality roof over their heads – often after many years of teaching and learning in prefabs.
“It is a real scandal that during the building boom years of the so-called Celtic Tiger, so many of our children were educated in sub-standard prefabs. I am personally committed to eliminating prefabs which have become ‘permanent’ structures.”
The Programme for Government contains a commitment to phase out the inefficient renting of prefabs. This commitment was based on the work Minister Quinn did in opposition to highlight the significant current expenditure on rental of prefabs.
“Replacing prefabs offers better accommodation for students and savings for schools and the Exchequer, as well as providing construction jobs. So I am delighted that we are building on our Programme for Government commitment and providing modern, high quality accommodation for pupils and teachers,” he continued.
Replacing prefabs is part of the Government’s €475 million education infrastructure plan for 2014.
Over the last five years, the cost of renting school accommodation has dropped dramatically, from €39 million in 2009 to €25 million in 2013.