By Jeff Benjamin, (@MusicBizStudent), New York
U2 has announcd it is providing five million euros (about $7.2 million) through 2015 to help fund music schooling for Irish children, according to Bloomberg. The news comes in the wake of the government’s cuttting spending on education.
The large donation will fund musical equipment and the hiring of teachers to tutor thousands of children across the nation. 50 percent will go towards projects developed by local education groups like Music Generation, which has selected three counties to receive funding. This includes the Vocational Education Authority in County Silgo which will provide music tuition for 16,000 children to take after school classes.
An additional two million euro (about $2.9 million) commitment is being provided by Ireland Funds, an international charitable fund group supported by people of Irish ancestry across the world.
The funds will spread out through 2015 with an aim towards having the government ultimately take over.
This announcement comes amidst the Irish government cutting education spending in an attempt to save 6 billion euros ($8.6 billion) this year, which are part of the terms of the country’s economic bailout package. Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said he was “very grateful for U2″ when his nation is not “in a position” to invest in education.
This government, led by Prime Minister Enda Kenny, has already withheld education expenditures cutting about three percent between 2008 and 2011 with student numbers expected to rise by 100,000 (10 percent) in the next seven years.
Home to other important international music figures such as Enya, Westlife, the Corrs, Nadine Coyle, and Celtic Woman, the donation gives hope to a country with a longstanding music history which currently has just one percent of secondary pupils receiving music tuition.