OFFALY is one of fourteen counties where every second level school will have high speed broadband installed this year as part of a national initiative to have broadband in every second level school by 2014.
Under the new programme, announced jointly by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and the Department of the Education and Skills, all second level schools will now have 100 mbps broadband installed by the end of 2014 with 200 in 2012, 200 in 2013 and the final 250 schools in 2014.
In Offaly, which currently has one of the lowest average broadband speeds for schools, Tullamore College, Colaiste Naomh Cormac Kilcormac, Ard Scoil Chiaran Naofa Clara, Oaklands Community College Edenderry and St Brendan’s Community School in Birr, will benefit from the programme in 2012.
Welcoming the news, Laois/Offaly TD Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy said high speed broadband will help modernise the teaching and learning processes within schools in the county and will open the schools up to the rest of the world.
She pointed out that by the end of the year, students and teachers will be able to undertake a number of initiatives including sharing and collaborating online with their own school, with other schools and with universities while availing of digital textbooks as the 100Mbps will facilitate classroom access.
Cllr Brian Whelahan also welcomed the news. “I am delighted that county Offaly 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.”
Tullamore Councillor, Sean O’Brien expressed delight that Offaly schools are to be among the first to have the high speed Broadband installed. “As information technology is playing such an important part in our lives and in job creation possibilities, it is vital that our youth are given every chance possible to use this technology in order to prepare themselves for the future.”
Irish Rural link has also welcomed the roll out of high-speed broadband to all the second level schools over a two year period.
The announcement involves the spending of €437 million in 2012 and IRL CEO Seamus Boland 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. This will ensure that there is no waste of resources and that there is maximum advantage gained as a result.