05 May, 2017 - Minister Richard Bruton hosts Regional Action Plan for Education Forum

Focus on the School of the Future – the Role of ICT in Education

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, TD, will hold the latest in a series of regional meetings on the Action Plan for Education today (Friday 5th May) in Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh.  

The purpose of this series of meetings is to outline the Government's Action Plan for Education and to detail the steps the Government are taking to make Ireland the best education and training system in Europe by 2026. 

Minister Bruton will hear ideas and feedback from the educational community and employers based across the region on the Government’s plan to embed ICT in Teaching, Learning and Assessment, to ensure that that Ireland's young people become engaged thinkers, active learners, knowledge constructors and global citizens to participate fully in society and the economy.

Minister Bruton has set out the Government’s plans in implementing the Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 Enhancing Teaching, Learning and Assessment, as part of the Action Plan on Education launched in September.

This forum follows on from successful meetings in Dundalk, Waterford, Cork and Galway, which discussed issues relating to higher education, skills provision and wellbeing.    

Addressing the Action Plan for Education meeting, Minister Bruton said: 

“Our Digital Strategy for Schools sets out a clear vision that is focused on realising the potential of digital technologies to transform the learning experiences of students. While we are introducing coding and computer science into the curriculum, we must also invest in the ICT infrastructure of our schools. That is why we have made €30m in ICT grants available to schools this year, and in the next four years we will invest a further €180m in ICT in our schools.

“No matter what career a young person contemplates, there is one thing for sure, digital technology is revolutionising it. We can already see the agents of change – cloud, mobile, social and the internet of things.

“For the generation of children recently born, creative thinking and problem-solving skills will be absolutely key to how they develop in reach and achieve their potential. In particular, their ability to think critically and develop solutions in the digital world will be vital for their prospects in life.”

The Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 sets out a vision to realise the potential of digital technologies to enhance teaching, learning and assessment so that Ireland's young people become engaged thinkers, active learners, knowledge constructors and global citizens to participate fully in society and the economy. We want to ensure that Ireland is well placed to take advantage of the digital revolution which is taking place, and having a transformative effect on our economy, workplace, and lifestyle. Capturing input from key stakeholders including educators, learners and industry as we are doing today, will ensure that the policies we pursue as a government will be fit for purpose and represent best practice in the implementation of the Digital Strategy for Schools to progress the vision for our young people.

Ends

For further information please contact the Department of Education and Skills Press Office:

01-8892322/2304/6714

 Notes for editors

The Panel responding to audience feedback was as follows:

Richard Bruton T.D. - Minister for Education and Skills

Dr. Mary Shire, Chair – Vice President Research, University of Limerick

Mr Donncha Ó Treasaigh – Principal, Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh, (recipient of Apple Distinguished School Award)

Professor - Professor Teresa O’Doherty – Head of Education, Mary Immaculate College

Mr Timmy Dwyer - Campus Leader, Dell Limerick and Executive Director, Service Supply Chain Dell.

Previous events:

The first forum focused on the Further Education and Training Sector, including apprenticeships and was held in Waterford.

The second forum focused on Higher Education and Research and was held in Dundalk. 

The third and fourth forum focused on Wellbeing in Education and was held in Galway and Cork

The fifth forum focused on Apprenticeships and Traineeships and was held in Castlebar

Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 Enhancing Teaching Learning and Assessment

The “Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020, Enhancing Teaching, Learning and Assessment” was published in October 2015 and forms the basis for ICT policy for first and second level schools in Ireland. The Strategy sets out a clear vision that is focussed on realising the potential of digital technologies to transform the learning experiences of students by helping them become engaged thinkers, active learners, knowledge constructors and global citizens who participate fully in society and the economy.  

The Strategy is organised around four themes:

  • Teaching, Learning and Assessment Using ICT
  • Teacher Professional Learning
  • Leadership, Research and Policy
  • ICT Infrastructure

The Strategy recognises that schools need some financial certainty in terms of their planning and procurement.  Accordingly, there is a commitment in the Strategy to provide multi-annual grants in line with the availability of resources. A fund of €210m has been committed beginning with an investment of €30m in respect of the 2016-2017 school year already distributed to schools via the ICT Infrastructure Grant. Funding will rise to €50m towards the end of the Strategy.

The Department also recognises the significant barriers primary schools face in embedding ICT in teaching and learning through poor broadband connectivity, and a priority of the Strategy will be to provide enhanced broadband services to primary schools. We will collaborate with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in progressing this objective, having regard to the National Broadband Plan, Work is underway via an interdepartmental working group.

The Strategy sets out a programme of work with clear outcomes for the 2015-2020 period. Planning is underway to produce an updated implementation plan to progress this work, and key priorities are also reflected in the Action Plan for Education 2017.