Primary ICT Grant for Software & Hardware
As we blogged about recently, last month, Tanáiste and Minister for Eteducation and Skills announced a total of €24 million in grants for technology equipment in primary schools. A welcome development indeed, but many teachers were bemused by the stipulation that schools were only allowed purchase hardware items with the money. This was well and good for those schools still lacking in baseline hardware infrastructure, but of limited use to the hundreds of advanced schools who had proceeded with developing their hardware through other sources of funding.
Therefore, it was equally welcome to hear that the Department reconsidered their initial directives, and subsequently issued a statement to the effect that schools that already had in place all of the necessary baseline equipment in classes (i.e. a teaching computer, digital projector and long range wireless keyboard and mouse) could also purchase software. We believe this to be a very sensible and significant development. The idea that DES officials would revisit such a decision (on foot, no doubt, of representations from schools) is a refreshing development…are we being naive in suggesting this represents a small step towards a new openness to consultation with the people who are directly affected by such decisions? We certainly welcome the inherent implication that, at last, the message is beginning to seep through that the use of ICTs in primary is a great deal more complex than the acquisition of hardware devices.