HEAnet helps to address the digital divide by giving access to technology for students

16,700 Dell laptops provided to students to enable remote learning throughout the country
Image: Dell

19 January 2021

In association with Dell Technologies

HEAnet and Dell Technologies have announced the successful delivery of 16,700 Dell laptops to students throughout Ireland.  

While Covid-19 restrictions forced the closure of college campus locations across Ireland this year the colleges themselves remained open requiring many thousands of students to attend lectures and study remotely. It quickly became evident that there were many students without access to a laptop, or similar computer device, leaving these students at a disadvantage.




In response to this evolving situation a new scheme was announced by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD to provide €168 million of funding for third level institutions and students. Notably, this new scheme included €15 million to help address the digital divide and give students the tools they need to continue their education. Following a tender process undertaken under the Office of Public Procurement (OGP) Framework, Dell Technologies was selected to provide desktop and laptop computer devices. 

Over a period of just eight weeks HEAnet partnered with Dell Technologies to meet the demand for devices supplying over 16,700 students from 36 Universities, Institutes of Technology, and ETBs with access to the technology they required. The laptops included a number of different configurations in response to specific needs and requests from the various institutions. 

By leveraging Dell Technologies’ global logistics supply chain and its strong presence in Ireland, the HEAnet request was accelerated and students across the country started receiving devices from early September to coincide with the beginning of the academic year. HEAnet also relied on essential support from both Intel and Microsoft in terms of sourcing requisite processors and software licenses.  

Speaking today Jason Ward, Vice-President and Managing Director, Dell Technologies Irelandsaid: “Dell Technologies is proud to have supported the HEAnet on this initiative to ensure all students had access to the technology they need to allow them to fully participate in their courses in a remote learning environment. The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of connectivity and access and the risk to those in our society if they are not connected. As we look to the future, Universities and ITs will increasingly depend on new technology to stay agile and enhance learning outcomes for students. This year has tested their systems and accelerated their digital transformation journey. Our team at Dell Technologies will continue to support schools, colleges and universities in the months ahead to ensure that all students have the tools they need to continue to learn – whether that is in the classroom or in a virtual environment.”

This expedited delivery represents a collective success for the sector, with Universities, Institutes of Technology, and ETBs aggregating need and working together. 

HEAnet CEO, Kerrie Power, said: “Aggregating multiple client needs in this manner has allowed HEAnet to offer a far superior service over that of clients facing the challenge alone. I believe that this bulk aggregation approach serves as a blueprint for a future way of working more effectively and efficiently. HEAnet would like to thank all those parties who made this expedited delivery a success and we wish the student users of these laptops every success in their future studies.”

Dell Technologies partnership with HEAnet builds on the expertise developed by technology company in driving digital transformation in education and accelerating workforce transformation. This strong track record was highlighted in the recent Dell Technologies Forum. The Forum, which usually takes the form of a one-day conference, took place this year in the form of on-demand webinars on topics ranging from creating a digital workplace to innovating through data.

To learn more about the role of technology in strengthening organisational agility and unlocking the potential of remote working and learning, check out the Dell Technologies Forum on-demand content at: https://dtf.delltechnologies-events.eu/dtf2020-ireland/sessions.  

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