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'Paltry' 2pc of schools have fast broadband

JUST 78 of 4,000 Irish schools have a high-speed broadband internet connection.

Figures released to the Dail show that connections to Irish schools include wireless (760), DSL (2,158), and satellite (935), but in a pilot project just 78 have the 100Mb per second connection.

Tanaiste Mary Coughlan revealed that there were 56 schools awaiting installation while 65 schools have "declined a broadband service" from the Department of Education.

She was replying to the Fine Gael education spokesman Fergus O'Dowd who had asked for a breakdown of the level of broadband connectivity for schools that have access to high- speed broadband and the number of schools that have satellite connections.



leap

Mr O'Dowd said today: "Once again, Irish students are being failed by Fianna Fail and the Greens. We need a quantum leap in how we teach in order for Ireland to become a major player in the global knowledge economy.

"Our students need to be provided with the best in ICT technology as well as the best access to the internet. However, as this information shows, the Government continues to let them down." Mr O'Dowd said the level of level of broadband connectivity for Irish schools fell well behind the rest of Europe.

"In fact, only 78 Irish schools have access to high-speed broadband -- described as being 100Mb per second. Since there are over 4,000 schools in the country, this represents a paltry 2pc.

In 2010, how can Fianna Fail and the Greens stand over the fact that 98pc of Irish schools have no access to high-speed broadband?"



SATISFACTION

The Government's 'Smart Schools = Smart Economy' plan launched last year might equip schools with some of the hardware they need.

A 2006 survey by the EU found that Ireland ranked at the very bottom in Europe when it came to teacher satisfaction with the ICT infrastructure in their schools.

Another study in the same year put Ireland 19th out of 25 European countries on the use of technology in the classroom.

"Instead of catching up to other countries, it seems that Irish schools are falling further and further behind," Mr O'Dowd said.

The €252m set aside in NDP funding has still not been allocated, he added.

mlavery@herald.ie


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