Digital learning plan will demand computer skills from teachers

Five-year strategy set to include greater investment in broadband for schools

 

Teachers may be required to demonstrate proficiency in information and communications technology (ICT) as part of their registration with the Teaching Council, a conference in Dublin heard on Wednesday.

Seán Ó Foghlú, secretary general of the Department of Education and Skills, said one element of its planned five-year digital strategy for schools was to work with the Teaching Council to include ICT in the continuum of teacher education.

The council is developing a policy whereby teachers have to demonstrate upskilling in relevant areas to remain on its register.

Mr Ó Foghlú said that while the digital strategy had yet to be finalised, it would seek to embed ICT in initial teacher education.

Resources would be provided to improve broadband for primary schools, and build on the current rollout of broadband for secondary schools.

Money would also be provided for upgrading computing devices in schools, although the sum available had yet to be worked out under the Government’s five-year capital plan, he said.

Digital learning

Joint Managerial Body

Mr Ó Foghlú said the OECD report published this week raising doubts over the educational benefits of computers in class was “helpful but we don’t want to overread it”.

The report was based on the findings of Programme for International Student Assessments (PISA) test scores, which were “quite narrow”, he noted.

“There is more to learning obviously than literacy and numeracy.”

Across the city on the same day, Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan joined thousands of students at the opening of The Irish Times Higher Options conference .

More than 170 colleges, universities and institutes of further education are taking part in the three-day event at the RDS, exhibiting college options to more than 20,000 students from all over Ireland.