Monday, February 06, 2012

Ministers Rabbitte and Quinn announce rollout of high speed Broadband toall second level schools

All second level schools are to get high speed(100Mbps) broadband, the Minister for Communications, Energy & NaturalResources, Pat Rabbitte T.D. and the Minister for Education and Skills, RuairíQuinn T.D. announced today.

The national roll-out will be completed over threestages with 200 schools being connected by September 2012, a further 200 beingconnected next year and the remaining 250 schools being connected in 2014.

The programme follows on from the successful pilotproject that has been running since 2009. The pilot involved 78 second levelschools where the use of broadband has been shown to have improved both teachingand learning.

Speaking at the launch inColáiste Bríde, Clondalkin, one of the schools involved in the successful pilotproject, Minister Rabbitte commented“Our secondary schools need industrialstrength broadband. Students’ experience of using technology in their everydaylives must be reflected in their learning experiences in schools. Use of ICT isno longer a separate subject - We must encourage students and teachers tointegrate 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 currentcosts for the years 2013 to 2015. The Department of Education & Skills(DES) will fund the remaining current costs (estimated to be some €20m up to2015). DES will also fund the on-going costs on an annual basis into thefuture.

Commenting on the launch, Minister Quinn said “we need to ensure that appropriate digitaltechnology and high-speed internet are in place in our schools as a basicbuilding block to deliver a 21st Century learning experience to all learners”.

“This major ICTinvestment in our education system follows on from the commitment in theProgramme for Government to incorporate the integration of ICT in teaching andlearning across the curriculum and investing in broadband development to ensureschools have access to modern high-speed networks”, he added.

Minister Rabbitteheralded the school’s excellent use of high speed broadband - “The opportunity this morning to see how class roomlearning can be revolutionised by the availability and adoption of high speed broadband,strengthens my conviction that we are delivering a strategic and worthwhileproject that will deliver significant long-term results from both an economicand social perspective. Despite our current economic difficulties, thissignificant investment in our current and future generation of school-childrenis money well spent.”

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