Decisions regarding the use and deployment of digital technology in schools is a matter for the Board of Management of each school. Schools are advised to consult with members of the school community including parents when planning for the introduction of digital technologies including devices. The cost and other implications must be fully considered by the Boards of Managements before a decision is made. Schools are encouraged to minimise the costs for parents and families.
The Professional Development Service for Teachers Technology in Education, offers advice and supports to schools on digital learning, with advice available on the technology in education website, including advice about the adoption of laptops and tablets in schools.
The Education (Student and Parent Charter) Bill will provide a mechanism for enhanced consultation on such matters in schools. The Bill completed all stages of the Seanad in late 2019. My Department is currently awaiting an order for Second Stage in the Dáil.
As the Deputy may be aware, an investment programme of €210m has been delivered to schools under the current Digital Strategy for Schools 2015 –2020. Schools are supported to develop their Digital Learning Plan, using the Digital Learning Framework which will enable schools and practitioners to embed the use of digital technology in teaching and learning. Schools are best placed to determine their journey in this regard, according to their own context and requirements. The grant funding can be used to buy devices for use by students and teachers, for learning platforms, software and overall ICT infrastructure development in the school.
The development of a new Digital Strategy is underway. An extensive consultation process has commenced and all relevant research and reports will be reviewed as part of the process to inform the new strategy.