Donegal schools are to receive €2.5m in funding to address the digital divide, under Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan.
The announcement was welcomed by Minister Charlie McConalogue.
The funding is the first of two major ICT projects supporting primary and post-primary schools.
This funding was secured as part of a major investment programme for the Department of Education in the Government’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) approved by the European Council.
Donegal schools will receive €2.5m in total for 203 schools.
Schools will be required to use this funding for the direct benefit of their students, and can consider innovative projects and programmes using digital technologies in teaching and learning depending on their own digital learning plan, and approaches including providing infrastructure such as devices on loan to students.
Minister McConalogue said: “All of our young people must be prepared to live in and work in a digital world. This funding announcement today will help prepare our young people in Donegal for that digital world and will help to address the risk of educational disadvantage.”
The National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) has been developed by the Government so that Ireland can access funding under the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility. Ireland is expected to receive €988 million in grants under the facility.
The Recovery and Resilience Facility is the largest component of NextGenerationEU, the European Union’s response to the global pandemic. The aim is to help repair the immediate economic and social damage brought about by the pandemic and to prepare for a post-Covid Europe that is greener, more digital, more resilient and fit to face the future.
Under the project being announced today, funding will be paid directly to all recognised primary and post-primary schools in the free education scheme, to invest in digital infrastructure to support students who are most at risk of educational disadvantage through the digital divide. As part of this measure, schools in the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) programme will receive double the amount of funding provided to non-DEIS schools.
Full information on the rates applying and the criteria and conditions attaching to this funding can be found in the Department of Education’s circular 0060/2021. A copy of this circular is attached.
Through the other project for which NRRP funding is being provided, and through the National Broadband Plan Intervention Area implementation and commercial provision, all primary schools will be provided with high speed broadband connectivity by early 2023.