Nearly €1 million is on its way to Laois schools under the first of two major ICT projects supporting primary and post-primary schools as part of funding to help recover from the pandemic.
Laois primary and post-primary schools will share €925,599 as part of Department of Education element of in the Government’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP).
Funding will be paid directly to recognised schools in the free education scheme, to invest in digital infrastructure to support students who are most at risk of educational disadvantage through the digital divide.
As part of this measure, schools in the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) programme will receive double the amount of funding provided to non-DEIS schools.
The amount of payments for each school will be based on the number of students enrolled in the school.
Primary schools in Laois will share €630,284 while post-primary schools will get a share of the €295,315 allocated.
Sean Fleming, Minister of State at the Department of Finance, welcomed the funding.
“We have seen for some students that the lack of technology restricted their ability to learn, but this additional funding for schools will advance their efforts to ensure that technology and infrastructure is in place to support teaching and learning in the classroom to ensure inclusion of all learners. Schools will be required to use this funding for the direct benefit of their students.
“I would like to encourage all schools to proceed as soon as possible ensuring that the funding is utilised for the improvement of digital skills for students and teaching alike,” he said.
The Department of Education says Schools will be required to use this funding for the direct benefit of their students. It says they can consider innovative projects and programmes using digital technologies in teaching and learning depending on their own digital learning plan and approaches including providing infrastructure such as devices on loan to students.
Minister for Education Norma Foley TD today announced the funding for schools in Laois and elsewhere.
“School communities made incredible strides in digital teaching and learning during the pandemic. An enormous effort was made by teachers and students, and a huge amount has been learned. We know also that for some students a lack of infrastructure impeded their ability to engage with remote learning. This digital divide will also impact their capacity to engage fully with digital technology and development of digital skills.
“As we move beyond this phase, we need to acknowledge the great effort and progress made. The enhanced investment under the NRRP will advance greatly the efforts to ensure that technology and infrastructure is in place to support teaching and learning in the classroom across all schools and ensure inclusion of all learners,” she said.
Her Department said the Recovery and Resilience Facility is the largest component of NextGenerationEU, the European Union’s response to the global pandemic. The Department says the aim is to help repair the immediate economic and social damage brought about by the pandemic and to prepare for a post-Covid Europe that is greener, more digital, more resilient and fit to face the future.
Through the other project for which NRRP funding is being provided, and through the National Broadband Plan Intervention Area implementation and commercial provision, all primary schools will be provided with high speed broadband connectivity by early 2023.