Wednesday 11 December 2019

Schools to share €30m for digital teaching equipment

Support for schools: Education Minister Richard Bruton
Support for schools: Education Minister Richard Bruton
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Schools are to share €30m to help them integrate state-of-the-art digital teaching and learning into the classroom.

Grants worth between €4,000 and more than €33,000 are aimed at the purchase of equipment such as laptops and projectors, and educational software.

The money will be shared between thousands of schools built before 2014, which, unlike those constructed in the past four years, did not receive set-up funding for technology infrastructure

Education Minister Richard Bruton is announcing the investment today to mark the start of Internet Safety Week.

The grants, which are a combination of a flat rate of €2,000 per school, plus a payment based on pupil numbers, will be paid in the coming weeks. Primary schools will receive a payment of €21.47 for each pupil, while at second-level it will be €31.22. The capitation payment will be higher for schools in the Deis programme.

The grants are part of a suite of supports under the Digital Strategy for Schools and represent the second instalment of the €210m committed for information and communications technology (ICT) in the primary and post-primary sectors.

Mr Bruton said that schools were supported in having a digital learning plan in place, detailing the integration of new technologies in teaching and learning. The minister said examples of what the money could be spent on included desktop PCs, laptops, tablets or hybrid devices, cloud technology-based tools and software applications to support learning and cloud-based learning platforms.

While the additional funding to support the purchase of ICT infrastructure will be welcomed, poor internet connectivity, particularly for primary schools in rural areas, remains a barrier to full integration of digital technologies.

The ESRI recently studied how high-speed broadband in second-level schools paid off in the long run.

Irish Independent

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