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People urged to donate laptops to pupils who need them



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Homes and businesses in Dublin are being urged to donate disused laptops to help economically disadvantaged Leaving Cert students keep up their studies online.

The Tech2Students call has gone out from social enterprise organisation Camara Education and Trinity College Dublin's Access programme.

The laptops will mainly be distributed to students in schools in the Department of Education's DEIS programme for disadvantaged communities.

These students have no access to technology at home.

Leaving Cert pupils will have priority and 20 DEIS schools with students in need have already been identified.

The campaign is supported by ESB, whose staff volunteers will collect donated laptops and after they have been refurbished, will deliver them to where they are most needed.

Camara Ireland and Trinity volunteer engineers will disinfect the laptops, securely wipe all data from the hard drive and load them with a fresh copy of the Windows operating system.

Michelle O'Kelly, principal of Mercy Secondary School, Inchicore, Dublin, said after the schools closed they had moved to online teaching with Google Classroom but quickly witnessed the digital divide.

"Leaving Cert students were not logging on. As we rang each home the reason was very clear - our students' homes do not have laptops, wifi or space to study," she said.

"While all of the online supports and websites that stakeholders in education have shared with us are great, they are not connecting with our students because they do not have the means to connect with them. They do not have the basic requirements," she added.

Irish Independent