All second level schools are to get high speed (100Mbps) broadband, the Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte T.D. and the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D. announced today.
The national roll-out will be completed over three stages with 200 schools being connected by September 2012, a further 200 being connected next year and the remaining 250 schools being connected in 2014.
The programme follows on from the successful pilot project that has been running since 2009. The pilot involved 78 second level schools where the use of broadband has been shown to have improved both teaching and learning.
Speaking at the launch in Coláiste Bríde, Clondalkin, one of the schools involved in the successful pilot project, Minister Rabbitte commented “Our secondary schools need industrial strength broadband. Students’ experience of using technology in their everyday lives must be reflected in their learning experiences in schools. Use of ICT is no longer a separate subject – We must encourage students and teachers to integrate the use of ICT with the traditional teaching methods for all subjects. In this way we will prepare the digital workforce of the future.”
The Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources is funding all of the capital costs of this project, estimated to be approximately €11m as well as contributing some €10m in current costs for the years 2013 to 2015. The Department of Education & Skills (DES) will fund the remaining current costs (estimated to be some €20m up to 2015). DES will also fund the on-going costs on an annual basis into the future.
Commenting on the launch, Minister Quinn said “we need to ensure that appropriate digital technology and high-speed internet are in place in our schools as a basic building block to deliver a 21st Century learning experience to all learners”.
“This major ICT investment in our education system follows on from the commitment in the Programme for Government to incorporate the integration of ICT in teaching and learning across the curriculum and investing in broadband development to ensure schools have access to modern high-speed networks”, he added.
Minister Rabbitte heralded the school’s excellent use of high speed broadband – “The opportunity this morning to see how class room learning can be revolutionised by the availability and adoption of high speed broadband, strengthens my conviction that we are delivering a strategic and worthwhile project that will deliver significant long-term results from both an economic and social perspective. Despite our current economic difficulties, this significant investment in our current and future generation of school-children is money well spent.”