A survey released by the European Commission, entitled Use of Computers and the Internet in Schools 2006, has criticised many aspects of the provision of information communication technology (ICT) in Irish schools.
This survey reveals that a third of Irish schools (34%) still do not have broadband internet access. Ireland ranks in 20th place out of 27 states for broadband internet services in schools. There are also striking variations in the provision of broadband services for schools, as 70% of schools in densely populated areas have broadband access compared to 56% of schools in rural areas.
The survey found that Irish teachers have very positive attitudes to the use of ICT for teaching, and rank top across Europe regarding ICT competence. Yet Ireland is at the very bottom in Europe in terms of teacher’s satisfaction with the ICT infrastructure in their schools. 34% believe there is a “major problem…with insufficient ICT equipment and access to the internet in Irish schools.” An astonishingly high 85% wish there were “better support and maintenance actions taken” for using ICT in schools. This situation is only worse in Malta and Latvia.
Furthermore, 52% believe there are also serious issues with regards to accessing adequate learning materials and 41% claim that existing ICT teaching materials are of poor quality. The Commission report finds that “with these figures, Ireland takes one of the bottom positions in Europe.”