02 November, 2009 - Minister O'Keeffe announces €4.2m in grants for high-tech classrooms

Over 380 primary schools across the country are to get €4.2 million in grants for high-tech equipment over the coming days as part of the Government's efforts to make technology an integral part of the learning process, according to the Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe TD.Minister O'Keeffe said 383 primary schools in which construction work was completed this year and last year will each get €5,000 per classroom to buy computer hardware, software and digital equipment.The allocation amounts to €5,000 in respect of each occupied permanent classroom built this year and last year.Announcing the move, Minister O'Keeffe said: 'Earlier this year, I announced €2.2 million in grants to 72 primary schools in which major construction work was completed last year.'Of these 72 schools, 23 will get further grants over the following days as their previously unoccupied classrooms are now in use.'The new grants will enable schools to equip their classrooms with appropriate technology to integrate ICT into teaching and learning. 'The total number of schools which will share in the €4.2 million cash injection is 383 - a strong signal that this Government is committed to equipping our classrooms with the latest technology,’ said Minister O'Keeffe.The National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) has advised schools of the appropriate equipment specification which should include a fixed digital projector, a laptop computer and a visualiser complemented by classroom computers. 'I'm very conscious of the need to boost schools' ICT capacity and I want to ensure that technology becomes an integral part of the learning process at an early age.'These grants demonstrate our commitment to providing the kind of high-tech hardware required to fulfil that objective.'My longer term goal is to increase the take-up of science, engineering and technology courses in third-level institutions in the building of Ireland's knowledge economy and innovation society,' said Minister O'Keeffe.The €4.2 million investment brings the total spend on schools' ICT equipment under the School Building Programme to €6.2 million this year.ENDS