The Department of Education made their first big investment of 2017 today by announcing their new €30 million investment in ICT infrastructure for primary and post-primary schools – with Ardee schools set to receive up to €53,000 in funding.
Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton made the announcement today which sees the beginning of the government’s Digital Strategy for Schools – an initiative that will see €210 million invested in digital infrastructure in schools nationwide over the next five years.
Ardee Community School, as well as the four local primary schools, will benefit handsomely from the Digital Strategy ICT (Information Communications Technology) Grant for 2016/17.
The five schools will be awarded a combined figure of approximately €52,000 – a figure that will rise due to additional payments per each school’s number of special needs pupils.
Each school gets a basic figure of €2,000 plus a a sum of €22.20 per mainstream primary school pupil, and €31.50 per mainstream pupil at post-primary level.
With a little over 700 pupils, Ardee Community School stands to receive an investment of around about €25,000. The Monastery Boys NS which has around 280 pupils enrolled will receive just over €8,000 while the Scoil Mhuire na Trocaire Girls School will receive just short of that – around €7,800.
Ardee Educate Together stands to benefit from a €4,500 investment in computer infrastructure and Ballapousta National School – with roughly 245 pupils at the school – will get close to €7,500 in total. Schools in Louth will be granted nearly €900,000 worth of investment from the tranche, which will be made available to schools in the coming weeks.
The money can be invested by schools in equipment for teachers and students such as desktop PCs, laptops, tablets or hybrid devices while projectors, interactive flat screens and cloud based tools and apps also fall under the remit of what the funds can be spent on.
Local Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd welcomed the news today. “In Louth, 87 secondary and primary schools will get it. It will make a significant difference. There is no application needed – it will go automatically to the schools.
“It will make a difference to special schools, schools with special classes and so on. I’m very happy about that,” he said.
“No matter what career a young person contemplates, there is one thing for sure, digital technology is revolutionising it,” Minister Bruton said today. “We can already see the agents of change – cloud, mobile, social and the internet of things.
“For the generation of children recently born, creative thinking and problem-solving skills will be absolutely key to how they develop in reach and achieve their potential. In particular, their ability to think critically and develop solutions in the digital world will be vital for their prospects in life.
“Our Digital Strategy for Schools sets out a clear vision that is focused 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,” he continued.
“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.”