Electronic payments pilot project to begin in primary and post primary schools
The Department of Education and Skills has announced the rollout of an electronic payments pilot project in primary and post primary schools. A range of payment options, including internet, mobile phone app and chip and pin will be available from today in the pilot schools to allow parents to make payments to the schools online and electronically.
Schools are responsible for handling a range of payments, such as school trips and book rental schemes from parents. Cash and cheques have in the past been the dominant way incoming payments in particular are made, though there are an increasing number of schools, particularly larger schools, where an electronic option is in place.
In terms of the majority of schools where cash/cheque is the predominant method of payment, teachers and administrative staff face a number of issues with organising these payments including administrative workload, cash security risk, reconciliation of payments and maintaining an audit trail.
The National Payments Plan set out to increase the availability of electronic and online forms of payment across Ireland and this project progresses that intention. Electronic and online payments options can provide considerable benefits for both schools and parents by:
- Improving security by minimising cash handled
- Significantly reducing administration, and enhancing reporting & auditing processes for schools
- Improving communication capabilities through the system
- Providing multiple and streamlined payment options, i.e. card, credit card, cash, cheque etc
- Providing convenience for parents
- Reducing the cost of cash handling, banking, and insurance fees for schools
Parents will still be able to make payments in cash or cheque to the schools involved in the pilot if they wish to do so.
The Department of Education & Skills in conjunction with the SPU and ETBI, has identified approximately 100 schools across the primary, post-primary and ETB sector willing to take part in the pilot project to avail of these solutions.
An implementation team, with representatives from the Department, the EPS, FSSU and ETBI, will work with both the pilot schools and the service providers to oversee the rollout of these payments solutions.
More information can be found on the departments website https://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Information/Procurement/schools-payments.html