BaileNuachtCartlann Aitheasc agus Preaseisiúintí

Speech by the Taoiseach, Mr. Brian Cowen, T.D., at the launch of Smart Schools = Smart Economy, in St. Joseph's Boy's National School, Terenure, on Monday, 16 November, 2009 at 11.00am.


A dhaoine uaisle,

Tá áthas orm a bheith anseo chun Tuarascáil an Chomhghrúpa Comhairleach ar ICT sna Scoileanna a sheoladh; Scoileanna Stuama = Geilleagar Stuama agus chun clár infheistíochta nua ríthábhachtach a fhógairt chun tacú le lánpháirtiú Theicneolaíocht Faisnéise agus Cumarsáide (ICT) maidir le teagasc agus foghlaim inár scoileanna.

I'm delighted to be here today to launch the Report of the Joint Advisory Group on ICT in Schools and to announce a crucial new investment programme to help integrate information and communications technology into learning in our schools.

Smart Economy
This report sets out a framework for development of ICT in our schools over the next three years.

The integration of ICT into teaching and learning can have a very positive impact on students learning outcomes.

It can help to develop higher-order skills including analysis, evaluation and problem-solving.

It will help to produce the graduates with the knowledge and skill-sets to meet the needs of a modern economy based on innovation and research.

The stepping stones to those skills begin in primary and secondary schools.

We must ensure that schools are capable equipping our children with the skills they need for the employment opportunities of the future.

Government commitment to ICT
The publication of this report is an important contribution to the Innovation or Ideas Economy, which is central to our economic renewal strategy based on the concept of a Smart Economy.

The Smart Economy framework highlighted the importance of ICT in the education system and the need to work in partnership with industry to make improvements.

Today's report shows how industry and Government can work together to create a roadmap towards real and meaningful changes in our classroom.
The Joint Advisory Group has identified the need for investment of €150 million in ICT for schools over the next three years.

I am pleased to announce today that the Government is committed to providing that funding to ensure that all our classrooms are equipped with a teaching laptop and projector and that we provide more ICT equipment in schools.

The Advisory Group have recommended the establishment of a steering group to drive implementation of this important work and I am pleased to announce that Paul Rellis, Managing Director of Microsoft has agreed to chair the Steering Group.

Nominees to the steering group will now be sought from other stakeholders. I know that Paul and the steering group will work closely with the CIO when appointed.

Finally, I want to thank the Industry for their input to producing this implementation strategy for ICT in schools.