Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (265)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

265. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the significant additional burden on parents of schools charging for new laptops or other digital devices for students in place of books; and the way in which he plans to address these additional costs. [30782/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The decision to use tablet devices is a matter for the Board of Management of a school.  Where the introduction of new technology is planned, consultation with members of the school community including parents is advised.  The cost and other implications must be fully considered by the Boards of Managements before a decision is made.

An advice sheet on the adoption of tablets in schools is available on the PDST-Technology in Education (PDST-TIE) website, detailing what tablets can offer a school, educational considerations, purchasing considerations and software.

It is a matter for the Board of Management of each individual school to decide on its own policy in relation to the use of textbooks in the school. Individual schools should adopt a cost-conscious approach to the selection of books in their classes. 

I want to give parents a strong voice in ensuring costs are always kept to a minimum.

Work on the drafting of the Education (Student and Parent Charter) Bill 2019 is close to being finalised and I intend to seek Government approval shortly for its publication. Under the Bill, each school will be required to prepare, publish and implement a Student and Parent Charter in accordance with national guidelines to be published by the Minister after consultation with the education partners. The charter legislation will include requirements for consultation and engagement with parents and students on matters relating to school life and will include provision for full transparency in relation to costs and the use of any voluntary contributions sought by schools.