High-speed broadband for local schools

Students in four local post-primary schools are to benefit from access to high-speed broadband as part of a new Government project.

Moate Community School, Athlone Community College, Our Lady's Bower Athlone, and Mercy Secondary School, Ballymahon are among 78 schools nationwide due to take part in the project, the details of which were announced by Communications Minister Eamon Ryan last weekend.

While under the existing Schools Broadband Programme, primary and post-primary schools in Ireland can access a basic level of broadband connectivity, the 100mpbs Post Primary Schools Project aims to develop schools as world-class centres of e-learning.

The schools to benefit were selected against various criteria including geographical location, and an adequate mix of schools to ensure broad social inclusion. The speeds available are similar to those being offered to high-end national and multinational companies that operate in Ireland, and allow for the quick upload and download of material, instant connection to websites, and the increased and varied use of online applications.

Launching the programme, Minister Ryan said, “Today we are laying one of the foundation stones of Ireland’s new knowledge society. Providing our schools with high-speed wireless connectivity opens up a whole new world of learning for our children.

“We are taking online learning out of the confines of the computer room. In classrooms and corridors, students and teachers will potentially be able to carry out interactive chemistry experiments and access demonstrations and exhibitions from all over the world.

“A class learning French in Dublin could talk in real time with a class in France. A leaving Cert Physics student will be able to take part in Ivy League lectures and experiments. With this level of connectivity, the opportunities for interaction and collaboration are unlimited.”

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