Minister for Education Norma Foley TD today announced the development of a new Digital Strategy for Schools, commencing with a wide-ranging consultation process.

The new Digital Strategy for Schools will replace the existing strategy, which will run out in the current school year.

Minister Foley said: “I am pleased to announce this important work on a new Digital Strategy for Schools.

“It is my aim that the new strategy will build on what has been achieved to date. Significant progress has been made in the lifetime of the existing strategy. In particular, real commitment has been shown by school leaders and teachers in planning for the embedding of digital technologies, to support teaching and learning, and has been key to the successful implementation to date.

“Many schools have used this funding to purchase devices for use by students and to support laptop or tablet loan schemes during periods of school closures. This, combined with other improvements to schools’ digital infrastructure supported remote learning.

“The consultation process will be wide-ranging and I look forward to engaging with all key stakeholders to inform the development of this crucial strategy. It is vital that all voices are heard and critical that the views of everyone, with an interest in this area inform the overall development and approach to build on the use of digital technology in education.

“I encourage everyone with an interest in this area to engage with this process and have your say. With your help we aim to build a robust and exciting strategy that will support our schools to enhance learning through embedding technology into the future.”

Learnings from the current strategy and the experience of teachers, school leaders, students and parents with the embedding of digital technologies across the curriculum and the opportunities provided by this, as well the impact of remote learning during Covid will inform the development of the new Digital Strategy for Schools.

The new strategy will take into consideration the overall status of implementation in all schools, Government objectives and priorities, national and international experience and look to address and incorporate new and emerging issues and trends in digital technology. It will build on the success of the implementation to date but also consider the challenges that have arisen in terms of any gaps that have come to light.

Under Project Ireland 2040, the government’s long-term overarching strategy to make Ireland a better country for all of its people, the ongoing embedding of the use of digital technologies in teaching, learning and assessment through the Digital Strategy for Schools will be supported through a further investment, under the current National Development Plan, of some €200 million up to 2027.

In order to ensure a comprehensive review of the existing Digital Strategy for Schools and to take account of new and emerging themes from the point of view of all relevant stakeholders, a consultation framework has been developed. The overall consultation process will be an integral part of the development of the new strategy and key to ensuring its successful implementation.

A Consultative Group involving key stakeholders, including the management bodies and unions will be established to inform this work. The consultation process is designed to include various different strands to ensure an effective, meaningful engagement with all interested parties. This will include an easily accessible online survey, which will be available for teachers, principals and students at the end of this month.

An open public call for submissions hosted on the Department’s website will be publicised from next week. Further detail will be available at this link.