My Department has been working closely with Teagasc to develop Covid related supports for Teagasc learners that are broadly similar to those recently announced by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science for the wider education sector.
The supports include a Teagasc Learner Laptop Assistance Scheme to assist disadvantaged Teagasc learners with remote learning. The Laptops will be made available on a loan basis to learners who meet the agreed eligibility criteria. I understand that Teagasc are now accepting applications for the devices.
I can also confirm that Teagasc has paid a €250 grant top up to learners currently deemed eligible for the Teagasc maintenance grant in the academic year 20/21.
I am further advised that a rebate of €100 will be made in the coming weeks to those learners not in receipt of the maintenance grant and who paid the €990 Level 5 and 6 fees for fulltime courses in the academic year 20/21.
Overall, it is expected that circa 1,000 Teagasc learners will benefit from these supports at a cost of some €216,000. I would like to thank Teagasc for rolling out this initiative and Macra na Feirme for assisting with this project.