Written Answers. - Computers in Secondary Schools.

Seamus Brennan

Question:

204 Mr. S. Brennan asked the Minister for Education the number of second-level schools that have personal computers available for students; the percentage this represents; the estimated number of all second-level students that have access to a personal computer; and the initiatives, if any, that have been taken to encourage and resource schools to exploit the rapidly developing educational potential of multi-media. [1717/96]

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.