Thursday, 17 April 2014

Questions (97)

Jack Wall

Question:

97. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the assistance available for the cost of educational aids for a child (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18401/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Programme for Government prioritises the integration of ICT in teaching and learning across the curriculum. Where ICT is embedded in the curriculum it can serve to engage and motivate children in the learning process. It has proven to increase students' self-esteem and creates a more positive disposition towards learning as well as providing teachers with more up to date, exciting and relevant ways of presenting and engaging with the curriculum. ICT can act as a catalyst for peer teaching and learning and is hugely powerful in the development of team-work, higher order thinking skills and a collaborative learning and teaching environment. The use of tablet devices is one of the many ways to integrate technology into teaching and learning.

I am aware of the fact that in many schools, parents are being asked to fund the cost of tablet devices for use in the classrooms. This is an operational matter for the Board of Management of each school and the Department has no role at individual school level in approving such initiatives. I believe it is important that where new technology is being considered by schools, parents should be consulted prior to the decision being made and that the costs and other implications for students and children seeking to be enrolled in the school are fully considered by the Boards of Managements.

The Department is not in a position to make new grant funding available for purchase of ebooks and associated services and devices. However, I would like to clarify that schools may choose to allocate the existing book grant provided by the Department towards purchase of electronic books if they wish.