Digital strategy sees €1m investment in local schools

A €1m investment in ICT infrastructure grants for local primary and post-primary schools was announced earlier this week.

The investment marks the start of the implementation of the Government’s five year €210million Digital Strategy for Schools. Westmeath schools are to receive approximately €663,844.

The Digital Strategy ICT Infrastructure Grant for 2016/2017 is worth approximately €4,000 for a 100-pupil school and approximately €11,000 for a 500-pupil school at primary level. At post-primary level, the grant is worth circa €15,000 for a 500-student school, and more than €27,000 for a 1,000-student school.

The funding will support the development and implementation of an eLearning Plan for each school to embed ICT in teaching and learning.

Some examples of the infrastructure that schools can purchase with this funding are: teaching computers/shared student computers including desktop PCs, laptops, tablets, or hybrid devices; projectors including short-throw or ultra-short throw, long-throw, interactive, or interactive flat screens (IFS ); cloud-based tools and applications to support learning; learning platforms – generally cloud-based applications used to support the teaching and learning process.

Independent Deputy for Longford-Westmeath, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, said Education Minister Richard Bruton’s investment in digital technology is vital for our young people’s future. “In particular, their ability to think critically and develop solutions in the digital world will be vital for their prospects in life, and this is what today’s announcement is all about,” he said.

Deputy Moran added that the Government’s Digital Strategy for Schools sets out a clear vision that is focussed on realising the potential of digital technologies to transform the learning experiences of students.

“While we are introducing coding and computer science into the curriculum, we must also invest in the ICT infrastructure of our schools. That is why we are making €30m in ICT grants available to schools in the coming weeks. In the next five years we will invest €210m in our schools,” he concluded.

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