Massive project promises 100Mb/s broadband to 650 secondary schools

Ministers Rabbitte, Quinn make commitment to complete rollout by 2014

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6 February 2012 | 0

Ministyer for Communications and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte and Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn have issued a joint statement promising a rollout of high speed broadband connections to 400 secondary schools across the country.

The project is to 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 a successful pilot project that has been running since 2009, involving 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 said: "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."

The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is funding all of the capital costs of this project, estimated to be approximately €11 million as well as contributing some €10m in current costs for the years 2013 to 2015. The Department of Education and Skills (DES) will fund the remaining current costs (estimated to be some €20 million up to 2015). DES will also fund the on-going costs on an annual basis into the future.

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."

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