€50m in funding for ICT equipment for schools under the Digital Strategy for Schools

Minister McHugh today (Monday March 4th) announces third year of funding under Project Ireland 2040 takes total spend on Digital Strategy for Schools ICT Infrastructure Fund to €110m

 All schools will receive grants to purchase key technology including tablets, cloud systems, projectors

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has today announced a further €50million investment in ICT infrastructure for all primary and post-primary schools.

Grant funding for the purchase of ICT infrastructure will issue to all eligible primary and post primary schools in the country to enable them to embed the use of digital technology in teaching and learning.

The Government’s total investment in the Project Ireland 2040 scheme will total €110m to date when all schools draw down their entitlements.

Minister McHugh said: “We are living in a world which is being fundamentally transformed by digital technology. Disruptive technologies in cloud, mobile and social are revolutionizing how we work and how we live.

“Critical, creative thinking, problem solving skills and adaptability will be key to ensuring young people flourish this environment and we need to make sure they are well prepared.

“Our Digital Strategy for Schools sets out a clear vision that is focussed on realising the potential of digital technologies to transform the learning experiences of students.”

The latest tranche of funding is made up of an initial pot of €45m – up €15m on the allocations in previous years.

The grants will be allocated through a standard lump sum and additional per-capita sums based on the size of the school. At primary level, the grant is worth in the region of €5,900 for a 100 pupil school and almost €22,000 for a 500 pupil school.  At post-primary, a 500 student school can receive a grant of almost €27,000 rising to some €52,000 for a 1,000 student school.

A further €5m pot of funding is also being set aside in this year’s tranche to recognise and support schools’ efforts to engage with digital technologies in teaching and learning.  Schools are being invited to apply for the additional fund by demonstrating evidence of effective embedding of digital technologies and Digital Learning Planning.

Minister McHugh said: “This investment in effective ICT infrastructure in schools will also support curriculum development and enhance teaching and learning.

“The latest funding of €50m continues the Government commitment under Project Ireland 2040 to underpin the implementation of the Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020.

“The funding will go hand in hand with other supports for schools such as the Digital Learning Framework and Digital Learning Planning Resource to enable schools to fully embrace and embed digital technologies in their work.

“We want to encourage and support real innovation in teaching, learning and assessment and recognise the efforts of schools in this regard. We have set aside €5m in this year’s fund to allow schools to apply for additional investment and excel in the technological and digital supports they provide for students and young people.”

The grant funding for schools is expected to complement the objectives of a school’s Digital Learning Plan, which the Department of Education and Skills has provided considerable resources and supports to under the Digital Strategy.

The funding can be spent on technology including:

  • Desktop PCs, laptops, tablets or hybrid devices.
  • Projectors
  • Cloud based tools and software applications to support learning.
  • Learning platforms – these are generally cloud based applications used to support the teaching and learning process.

Today’s investment is the third instalment as part of the €210m committed to by the Government under the Digital Strategy in Schools to support investment in ICT infrastructure for schools.