Chairman of Kilkenny County Council, Cllr Andrew McGuinness
A total of 17,000 laptops have been ordered to assist students with online and blended learning and will be distributed to third level students to assist with online learning according to Chairman of Kilkenny County Council, Andrew McGuinness.
“A fund for student devices worth €15 million was part of a €168 million package for further and higher education sectors to deal with the impacts of Covid-19. I welcome this as it will help to ensure that students will not lose out on aspects of their third level education while also protecting them against the virus by limiting face to face contact,” said Cllr Andrew McGuinness.
“In the coming new academic year, there will be a much bigger focus on online learning and this investment will help over 16,700 students to access laptops and will ensure they can keep up to date with their studies despite Covid19 restrictions,” he said.
“Another great benefit is the fact that by allowing every student fair and equal access to education which is very positive and will ensure that disadvantaged students will have access to laptops. Many families have come under increasing financial pressure during the pandemic and I hope this will be some help for them ,” he said.
This funding has already allowed higher education institutions and further education institutions place a bulk order of 16,700 devices for students across third level and further devices are also being procured individually by some institutions.
The €168m funding package includes an additional €10m for access supports which complements the IT support package. Students in higher education institutions experiencing exceptional financial need can apply for support via their local access office.
The devices will be distributed through targeted lending schemes run by the institutions. In the higher education sector, this will be overseen by Student Access Offices.
In the further education and training sector, this will be overseen by the Education and Training Board (ETB) management.
The grant funding for the devices will be provided to higher education institutions through the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and to education and training