- ICT grant package aims to target Leaving Certificate students
- funding provision is part of suite of measures to support all students particularly those at risk of disadvantage due to COVID-19 school closures
- guidance on Continuity of Schooling to support learners with special educational needs and learners from disadvantaged backgrounds being issued to all schools
The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD has today (Wednesday 22 April 2020) announced a special €10 million fund to support the purchase of technology and devices for disadvantaged students.
A total of €7 million additional funding will be provided in the post-primary sector and €3 million in the primary sector.
Minister McHugh said:
In January the Minister announced the latest round of funding for ICT under the Digital Strategy for Schools. €40 million grant funding will be distributed in the coming weeks to eligible schools as previously notified. Today’s announcement includes a top-up scheme which will see €10 million issuing to schools in the coming weeks also.
The Department of Education and Skills will issue a circular to schools providing the details governing the funding for the grant and the top-up funding.
The department is working with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and telecoms companies through industry body Ibec to make a number of relevant websites “zero rated”. This would allow students to access these sites with no data costs.
Minister McHugh added:
The measures are part of a number of initiatives taken by the department to support children and young people who are at risk of educational disadvantage during the period of school closures.
- guidance being issued to all schools to support the ongoing learning of children with special educational needs and children who are at risk of disadvantage
- collaboration with Cisco/WebEX to support schools with training in video conferencing software – for use by teachers with their classes
- guidance and resources developed by the National Council for Special Education on supporting children with special educational needs
- continuation of the School meals programme, funded through the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, to provide food parcels to children who are at risk of food poverty
- continued funding of Home Tuition or, where this is not possible, flexibility to bank hours for use at a later time in the year
- resources to support good mental health and wellbeing amongst students produced by the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)
- €10 million funding package secured as part of the Digital Strategy for Schools ICT Infrastructure Fund
Minister McHugh added:
The Department of Education and Skills will issue circulars to schools providing details governing the grant and top-up funding.