Written Answers. - Information Technology Courses.

Liam Lawlor

Ceist:

93 Mr. Lawlor asked the Minister for Education if she will initiate an urgent training and education programme for primary and post-primary schools to provide all pupils and students with computer and keyboard skills to enable them to cope with the advances in modern technology; if she will immediately address the question of providing computers to the 35 per cent of primary schools who do not possess such basic technology; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8874/96]

In second level schools computer studies is an optional subject in the junior cycle curriculum and computer studies is an optional module in the leaving certificate mathematics syllabus.

Information technology is an integral part of the new senior cycle leaving certificate applied and leaving certificate vocational programmes. In addition information technology applications are taught in a range of junior and leaving certificate subjects.
Use of a keyboard forms part of all the programmes in information technology. Keyboard skills are taught within the typewriting and business studies syllabi in junior certificate.
The curriculum for primary schools is under review at present. While it is not proposed to introduce a formal programme in computer and keyboard skills for all pupils in primary schools, many primary schools do, from their own resources, introduce children to computers as part of their curriculum. In addition the Department has provided financial support for the purchase of computers to some primary schools in disadvantaged areas. It has also provided computers for children with certain physical disabilities to assist them with communication. The question of providing additional computer equipment to primary schools will be addressed as resources become available.