Schools in Cork are set to receive significant grants to spend on ICT infrastructure, according to Cork North West Fine Gael General Election Candidate Councillor John Paul O’Shea.
Cllr. O’Shea said: “My Fine Gael colleague, the Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh TD, has confirmed to me that all primary and post-primary schools in Cork are to receive a new grant to purchase key technology such as PCs, laptops, tablets and projectors. The grant can also be spent on Cloud based tools and software applications to support learning.
“This is part of a €50 million investment in ICT infrastructure for all primary and post-primary schools. It is the fourth year of funding under the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 which takes total spend on Digital Strategy for Schools ICT Infrastructure Fund to €160 million.”
The €50m fourth tranche of funding is to be allocated in two ways:
– €40m allocated to all primary and post primary schools, with grants based standard lump sum plus a rate based on enrolment numbers.
– €10m to be allocated to schools which apply for additional funding supports and demonstrate evidence of effective embedding of digital technologies and Digital Learning Planning.
The announcement of the scheme in January ensures the €40 million grant funding will issue automatically before the end of March.
Details of how schools can apply for the €10 million additional fund will be confirmed before the end of the school year. A circular with full details for schools, including the application process will be published shortly.
Cllr. O’Shea continued: “Cork schools with 100 pupils can expect to receive around €5,000 and those with 500 pupils will receive up to €18,000. At post-primary level, a 500 student school will receive almost €22,000 and for a school with 1,000 students the grant will be worth €41,000.
“This builds on the funding already allocated. In the first three tranches of the ICT grant, a primary school with 100 pupils would have received €14,000 and a primary school with 500 pupils €46,000. At post primary, the first three payments were worth €60,000 for a school with 500 students and €112,000 for a school with 1,000 pupils.
“This is hugely significant funding, bringing schools up to the minute in terms of the available technology and ensuring children have the best possible tools to support their learning.
“Fine Gael in Government has a Future Jobs Strategy, and a big part of that is about taking advantage of technological changes to equip people for the changing nature of work. We are complementing this through the Department of Education and ensuring that our school students, even the younger children, will take all these future changes in their stride. They will have access to the latest technology in their schooling which will be of huge benefit to them and ensure they are extremely well equipped for the fast paced changes ahead.”
Minister McHugh said: “Today’s announcement reaffirms our commitment to ensuring that all of our schools are equipped with top quality ICT infrastructure.
“This investment will allow schools to purchase critical equipment such as PCs, laptops and tablets and it goes hand in hand with other supports for schools such as the Digital Learning Framework and Digital Learning Planning Resource to enable schools to fully embrace and embed digital technologies in their work.
“Ensuring earlier allocation of such an important grant will help school principals and teachers and staff with strong technology skills to plan for the best way to make use of the funding.”