The Department of Education does not have precise data on the overall number of personal computers in second-level schools.
However, based on a recent survey of a sample of second-level schools, it is estimated that the great majority of students have access to personal computers. Under the Department's school administration scheme qualifying second-level schools have been provided with a computer for school administration purposes.
In addition, computers are provided to schools in a number of other ways: schools may purchase computers out of their own resources; new schools and schools being extended are provided with equipment which includes multi-media computers; through special initiatives for enhancing access and use of computers with multi-media.
The special initiatives include the introduction of new programmes like the restructured leaving certificate vocational programme.
Access to information technology and other new technologies is a central component of this programme which is currently being provided in 126 second-level schools. To facilitate student access to equipment, including multi-media computers, the Department provides schools offering this programme with a capital grant for the purchase of equipment. In-career development for teachers of the leaving certificate vocational programme includes specific provision for enhancement of skills in the use of the facilities including multi-media. It is envisaged that by 1999 all schools will have access to this programme.