Swift rollout needed of planned measures to address Digital Divide

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
22 April 2020

Responding to news that the Government is to allocate funds to address the digital divide among students during the Covid crisis, Labour spokesperson on Education, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin T.D, said:

“It is welcome that the Government finally appears to be recognising that there is a digital divide among students, which is something I’ve been highlighting throughout this crisis.

“However we are now six weeks into the school shutdown and it’s clear that the Minister should have acted sooner.

“Studies from the CSO and World Bank have outlined for a number of years the nature of the digital divide in Ireland so this shouldn’t have come as a surprise to the Minister.

“We know that not every Irish student has the same access to technology, which makes remote learning so much more difficult.

“We simply can’t afford to waste any more time and we need to see the swift rollout of these measures to ensure that every student is catered for.

“There also needs to be clarity regarding the €116 exam fee which must be waived to alleviate some of the burden on students and their families during this difficult time.

“This is something that I will be raising with the Minister in the Dáil tomorrow, along with other issues regarding the Leaving Cert and the mooted start date of July 29th.

“I will also be seeking clarity on the redeployment of SNAs and the suggestion that primary schools may reopen on a partial basis in June.”

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