Government to bring in coding at primary school level

Digital strategy seeks to enhance learning and teaching through more technology

The plan includes the introduction of a benchmarking system  to allow teachers to track their progress in using digital technologies when teaching. Photograph: Getty Images

The plan includes the introduction of a benchmarking system to allow teachers to track their progress in using digital technologies when teaching. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Computer science for Leaving Cert students and coding at primary school level are some of the measures being introduced by the Government to meet its goal of creating the best education service in Europe within a decade.

The Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 plan for 2017, which was launched by Minister for Education Richard Bruton on Monday, seeks to increase the use of ICT (information and communications technology) in Irish schools.

The plan includes the introduction of a benchmarking system from this September to allow teachers to track their progress in using digital technologies when teaching.

It also proposes a new “clustering programme” to encourage teachers and educators to work together in creating a more innovative and active education system.

Teachers will also receive additional training in building their own digital skills for use in the classroom.

“We want to ensure that Ireland is well placed to take advantage of the digital revolution which is taking place, and having a transformative effect on our economy, workplace and lifestyle,” said Mr Bruton.

“Creative thinking and problem-solving skills are critical to our children developing and achieving their potential. In particular, their ability to think critically and develop solutions in the digital world will be vital for their prospects in life.”

The Department of Education has provided €30 million in ICT grants to schools so far this year, and is set to invest a further €180 million in ICT facilities in schools over the next four years.

High-speed broadband

Mr Bruton has also said there will be particular focus on ensuring all schools have high-speed broadband connectivity.

The Minister also underlined the importance of reviewing internet safety for young people and children using digital tools at school.

“Increasingly we see that as a central concern. A lot of this is teaching young people to be discerning in both what they put up and the information they access online.”

The Digital Strategy for Schools plan was first published in October 2015, and forms the basis for the State’s ICT policy in Irish schools.

Monday’s launch follows a review of the strategy for the past two years, and was led by Prof Brendan Tangney from Trinity College Dublin.