I visited a primary school today and spent over an hour talking to the principal about the school’s IT requirements. God I’m depressed after it.
The school has a few computers with Internet access and the principal is enthusiastic about ICT (he has the children writing html in Notepad from as young as 8 years old) so this school is much better off than many I know.
Even so, it was soul destroying to see such an enthusiastic educator being held up at every step by the bureaucratic nightmare that is the Department of Education.
He recently had s problem with his broadband connection (satellite, supplied by the Department via DigiWeb). When he called the Department’s helpline, the response he got was “Well, it is fine from here.” End of conversation. This is his only line of support. He got the kids to test downloading a file via the broadband connection and via Eircom dialup – the dialup was faster!
The Irish government invested â‚¬25m in ICT for schools in 2001/2 and nothing since. Schools are left up to their own devices. Many schools are operating on machines with Windows 98 or worse.
Teachers who want to teach ICT in schools are given no training, no resources, no curriculum and no support. There is currently NO strategy in place around ICT in schools in Ireland.
Good God, computers should be taught in every school in the country from primary through to third level. All the schools should be networked so they can share information amongst themselves using social media.
Schools should have Intranets so that students can submit homework from home and parents can log in and monitor progress. Every student’s desk should have an Internet connected PC. This is just basic stuff.
What hope has Ireland in the coming years when we won’t even invest in ICT in our education system?