Written Answers. - Schools IT 2000.

David Stanton

Question:

44 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Education and Science his views on the report in relation to the impact of Schools IT 2000; the actions he has taken or intends to take as a result of the report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21867/02]

The Deputy is referring to the report of the National Policy Advisory and Development Committee, NPADC, which last year undertook an evaluation of the Schools IT 2000 initiative. In preparing its report, the NPADC commissioned a detailed survey of principals and teachers in more than 550 primary and post-primary schools, as well as chairpersons of boards of management and education centres.

The committee's report, which was completed in late 2001, concluded that the very positive results of the survey had provided clear evidence that the Schools IT 2000 programme had been successful in achieving its main aims of facilitating the acquisition of computer facilities for schools and enhancing teacher skills and competence in the use of information and communication technologies, ICT. Specifically when comparing the situation to that which existed beforehand, the results were highly encouraging and indicated demonstrable progress in the development of ICT as a teaching and learning resource within schools. Marked improvements were recorded in the availability of the necessary infrastructure, in teacher participation in ICT training and in the active use of ICT by both teachers and pupils. The need for continued funding for infrastructure and teacher training was also outlined in the report.
In December 2001 my Department launched the blueprint for the future of ICT in education, which informed by the recommendations of the NPADC report, sets out a comprehensive strategy for further developing ICT integration within schools at primary and post-primary level in the period 2001 to 2003.
The principles underpinning this strategy are: a major development of wiring-networking infrastructure in all schools and the provision of enhanced access to the Internet; a significant lowering of the pupil-computer ratio; the further development of teacher skills in the use of ICT in the classroom; and the facilitation of software-multimedia resources development for use in schools.
In specific terms, the strategy provides for €78.72 million capital investment for first and second level schools; €29.2 million for support services including teacher training; the development of ICT school plans to meet individual school needs, locally based teacher training, supports for special needs students; the development of education web resources; a new scheme of innovative ICT projects; collaboration with other European countries; partnership with the social partners, industry and the broader community; and feedback from schools to determine future priorities.
I am satisfied that the blueprint for the future of ICT in education has set in train a range of actions which will ensure the continuing success of Government policy in promoting the integration of ICT in teaching and learning at first and second level.