Further and Higher Education Minister Simon Harris has announced that up to 17,000 laptops will be distributed to students to support online learning.
As part of the €168m COVID relief package for further and higher education, €15 million of that fund was set aside for student devices.
Colleges have placed a bulk order of 16,700 computers, with certain colleges also purchasing devices individually.
Minister @SimonHarrisTD has today announced 17,000 laptops will be delivered to third level students across the country as part of €15 million fund to help with online learning.
Find out more ⬇️⬇️⬇️ pic.twitter.com/V5lZGySSZF
— Department of Further and Higher Education (@DeptofFHed) August 21, 2020
On the news, Minister Harris said the investment is vital to ensure students can keep up to date with their studies, and that it's not good enough to just tell students about blended learning. The correct infrastructure for students is vital in order for them to fulfil their studies.
“Covid-19 has disrupted many aspects of our lives. For students in third level, it has resulted in a changed college experience.
"This new academic year will mean many students will be attending courses online and will need access to devices. This investment will allow us to help 16,700 students access laptops and will ensure they can keep up to date with their studies.”
The scheme will be focussed on disadvantaged students, but Harris stressed that there must be a recognition that due to the Ireland's changing landscape throughout the pandemic, other students may need to avail of the scheme.
"We must also recognise many students and their families have fallen on hard times as a result of Covid and ensure they can access this support fund also".
These devices will be disseminated through lending schemes with are already run by colleges.