Students in Donegal are to avail of a laptop scheme worth more than €550,000 locally.
The announcement by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation, and Science Simon Harris TD, sees €373,339 allocated to Letterkenny Institute of Technology and a further €184,500 allocated to Donegal ETB.
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality with responsibility for Law Reform, Charlie McConalogue, has welcomed the allocation.
The fund is directly intended for the purchase of laptops for third level students to assist with online and blended learning.
“These allocations are part of a nationwide scheme that will see 17,000 laptops distributed to assist students with online learning. I have no doubt that the allocations for LYIT and Donegal ETB to purchase laptops will make a huge difference to many third level students in the county,” Minister of State McConalogue said.
He added: “The college experience has been transformed entirely for third level students as a result of Covid-19 and the new academic year will mean that many students will be attending courses online and will need access to reliable devices. This investment will mean that students in Donegal can have access to laptops and keep up with their studies.”
Minister of State McConalogue, explained that the fund for student devices worth €15 million in total, was part of a €168 million package for further and higher education sectors to deal with the impacts of Covid-19.
“This funding has already allowed higher education institutions and further education institutions order devices for students across third level.
“Those devices will be distributed through targeted lending schemes run by the institutions. In the higher education sector, this will be overseen by Student Access Offices. In the further education and training sector, this will be overseen by the Education and Training Board (ETB) management.”
While the focus will be on ensuring disadvantaged students have access to devices, Minister of State McConalogue said it is recognised that many students and their families have fallen on hard times as a result of Covid-19.
“While it is a priority to ensure that disadvantaged students have access to the scheme, it is also important that this scheme to be accessible to all who need it so that no student falls behind in their studies.
“I am certain that both LYIT and Donegal ETB will do everything they can to ensure that all of their students have an equal access to education and I am certain this allocation will go some way in helping them achieve this,” he concluded.