40 new schools to be built in 2014
ALMOST 40 new schools will be built next year and many others will get extensions to cater for soaring pupil numbers at both primary and post-primary level.
Parents, pupils and teachers in 70 communities have cause for celebration today as the Department of Education announced its 2014 building list.
Overwhelming, the focus of the programme is on new schools to cater for the rise in enrolments in areas that have experienced a large rise in population in recent years.
Some projects will involve the replacement of old and dilapidated schools or the construction of permanent accommodation to replace pre-fabs.
The 70 projects listed for construction are 22 new schools and 12 extensions at primary level, 12 new schools and 20 extensions at second-level and three new special schools and one extension.
Overall, they will deliver over 27,500 permanent school places, of which about 21,000 will cater for rising enrolments, while the remainder will be in replacement of temporary or unsatisfactory accommodation.
Together with the school projects already announced in July and other ongoing projects from 2013, it means that a total of 168 major school projects will be on site next year.
Total enrolment in both primary and post-primary schools is expected to grow by over 70,000 between now and 2017 - with over 45,000 extra pupils at primary 25,000 at post primary .
As the population boom that started in the late 1990s works its way through the education system, enrolments at second-level will continue to grow up to at least 2024.