There has been a huge welcome to the news that all second level schools in Leitrim will have high speed broadband installed this year.
This is part of a national programme to install high speed broadband in every second level school in Ireland by 2014 which has been jointly announced by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and the Department of Education.
Leitrim is one of 14 counties in which every school will have high speed broadband installed in 2012 as these counties currently have the lowest average broadband speeds for schools. Under this programme all second-level schools will have 100 Mbps (megabytes per second) broadband installed by the end of 2014 – 200 in 2012, 200 in 2013 and the final 250 schools in 2014.
Deputy Tony McLoughlin told the paper, “I am delighted that Leitrim has been selected to have the high speed broadband installed in its second level schools this year. We have always been last in the queue when it comes to broadband so I am glad that this Government is doing something to redress the balance.
“High speed broadband will help modernise the teaching and learning processes within schools in our county and will open up the schools to the rest of the world. By the end of the year students and teachers will be able to;
share and collaborate online within their own school, with other schools and with universities; use video conferencing and Skype or other online communication tools; Avail of online learning and teaching spaces such as Virtual Learning Environments (VLE’s) and blogs; Explore the use of ICT in the learning and teaching process; Avail of digital textbooks as the 100Mbps will facilitate classroom access.
“The roll out of high speed broadband has already been piloted in a number of schools and the results have been extremely positive. It is clear that the 100Mbps has had a very positive impact on learning and teaching in the schools which have made enormous progress in ICT integration in their classrooms within a very short timeframe. Students and teachers are now able to draw on a huge variety of quality information resources,” concluded McLoughlin TD.
The Irish Rural Link (IRL), say it will strengthen school’s ability to ensure that students are equipped with the skills necessary, to compete in a work force that will be under considerable pressure to cope with the challenges of Ireland’s economic recovery.
Seamus Boland of IRL, said, “The roll out needs to be matched with the provision of computers and other necessary technology to students so that they can maximise the benefits of this programme.”
IRL are also calling for a planned approach to be undertaken by the Departments of Education and Communications. They say this will ensure that there is no waste of resources and that there is maximum advantage gained as a result and are also repeating their call that rural areas, not just schools, require broadband at speed necessary to compete in the current market place.