ICT School Investment Monday, August 11, 2008

As reported in the Irish Times the TUI has called on the government not to cut the ICT budget for schools set aside under the 2007-2013 NDP, Batt O’Keeffe, T.D. has so far not made a commitment to proceed with the investment.

The €252 million allocated over seven years is very low when compared to other developed countries but the prospect of it being cut will be a disaster. Many schools are still using dated Windows 98 computers, and those with Windows XP are doing so on computers seven years old. This old technology is not fastest enough to handle todays interactive multimedia software or fast broadband. A major investment in both hardware, software and infrastructure needs to be implemented without delay.

Northern Ireland schools receive €75 million annually to spend on school ICT and all principals and teachers are provided with laptops. This is twice what Irish schools are receiving per annum for a quarter of our population. If Irish schools were funded to the same level as Northern Ireland, over €2.1 billion would be invested in ICT for schools over the next seven years. The is a serious shortfall in investment and is damaging any prospect we have of moving our economy to the next level.

The lack of investment and commitment to invest has reduced ICT use in schools, investment in their infrastructure and more importantly investment in software and school resources developed in Ireland for the Irish curriculum. Many Irish schools must now rely on low-budget British and American software for teaching, and the lack of funding is damaging interest and future investment by Irish companies.

Read the article about the call from the TUI in the Irish Times online, for free.