Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (142)

Seamus Kirk

Question:

144 Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Education and Skills the annual budget on IT and innovation in the education sector; if he will give a full breakdown of the costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34568/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

I understand that the question relates to the provision of ICT funding for primary and post primary schools.

My Department funds the ICT in Schools Programme. The programme, which commenced in 1998, delivers strategic investment across the range of interconnected issues which need to be addressed in order to systematically integrate ICT into teaching and learning and promote the development of pupils' digital literacy.

In line with best practice internationally the programme addresses four key themes:

internet access for schools (broadband since 2005),

teacher professional development in ICT,

ICT infrastructure deployment in schools,

deployment of curriculum-relevant digital content and software for use in the classroom.

Between 2009 and 2011 inclusive, some €126m has been allocated under the programme, including €92m in ICT Infrastructure Grant funding between November 2009 and December 2010. The main priority under this scheme was the equipping of each classroom with a teaching computer and digital projector. Once the baseline is in place schools can allocate any remaining funding under the scheme to other ICT equipment and software for educational use. A number of key support measures were taken to help schools get best value in the use of these devolved grants — in particular, the inclusion of schools in national purchasing frameworks for desktops, laptops, digital projectors and printers, the delivery of a national series of elearning seminars for school leaders, and the provision of extensive guidance and training on the use of ICT in the classroom. In relation to overall expenditure under the Programme, I have attached a breakdown of expenditure for 2011.

In relation to funding this year, €13.2 million has been earmarked for the ICT in Schools Programme. The increase in the 2012 allocation as compared with the 2011 outturn primarily reflects the ongoing rental costs for the 78 schools connected under the pilot project to provide high speed (100Mbit/s) broadband connections to schools.

The current allocation allows the programme to remain focused on maintaining priority services within reduced staffing and financial resources through 2012. The ICT in Schools programme continues to adapt to the new policy challenges and opportunities arising from major developments in curricular reform, digital publishing, digital content dissemination tools generally, cloud services, portable computing and student devices, and the deployment of high speed broadband at post-primary level.

ICT in Schools Programme 2011

Total

Category

(€000)

1. Schools Broadband

5,522

2. NCTE activities (NCTE is now integrated with the PDST)

3,944

3. E-twinning initiative e-Twinning is an EU-wide initiative whereby schools in Europe can work together using a shared portal. It aims to help schools to bring a European dimension to their activities and to integrate ICT into the classroom. The programme is managed by Léargas.

46

4. EUN fee (European Schoolnet is a network of 30 Ministries of Education in Europe and beyond)

31

5. Other

23

Totals

€9,566