Written answers

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Third Level Institutions

Rose Conway-Walsh (Mayo, Sinn Fein)
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206. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 236 of 14 October 2020, if Dublin Technical University currently holds no debt; if he plans to create a borrowing framework for the technological universities to allow them to borrow in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31917/20]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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I wish to advise the Deputy that TU Dublin does not have a borrowing framework and has no debt.

The Universities Act, 1997 contains a provision for universities to borrow within a framework agreed with the Higher Education Authority. This framework, which was agreed with the now Department of Further and Higher Education, Research Innovation and Science and the now Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, has been in operation for many years. A similar provision to allow Institutes of Technology to borrow is contained in the Institutes of Technology Act, 2006, and for Technological Universities under the Technological University Act, 2018, however this provision has not been enacted.

Technological Universities (TUs) are considered to be General Government entities and borrowings by TUs would contribute towards General Government expenditure and affect the General Government balance.

The Department continues to assess in consultation with stakeholders, including TU Dublin and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the appropriate development of a borrowing framework for technological universities. 

Johnny Mythen (Wexford, Sinn Fein)
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207. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the breakdown of the funding for laptops for disadvantaged third-level students for each qualified college in tabular form; the number of laptops supplied to individual students from each college involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31995/20]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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As part of a package of COVID-19 supports for the higher and further education sectors, my Department has allocated €15 million to higher and further education providers for a once-off COVID-19 grant to support disadvantaged students in accessing ICT devices.  

This initiative addresses concerns regarding the digital divide in the context of the shift to online and blended models of learning as a result of COVID-19 and the importance of supporting disadvantaged students to adapt to these new models.

Devices procured using the grant will be distributed by Higher Education Institutions and Education and Training Boards to disadvantaged students via appropriate lending schemes. Over 16,700 laptops have been procured and shipped as part of a bulk order organised by HEAnet, while additional devices are being procured by some providers directly. 

I am including in the tables beneath, for the Deputy's information, the grant allocated to each provider; the number of devices procured by the HEIs and ETBs under the HEAnet bulk order and also the number of devices procured by the ETBs directly.  Please note that the Department does not currently have detail in relation to the numbers of devices procured by the HEIs directly; however, this information has been requested and will be provided to the Deputy once available.

HEI Grant Allocated  Devices (HEAnet)
DCU €641,843 702
NUI Galway  €682,999 835
TCD €466,224 711
TU Dublin  €1,290,463 1,400
UCC €590,432 0 - all procured directly
UCD €777,017 837
UL €563,413 884
MU €577,223 745
Mary Immaculate College, Limerick  €219,065 333
NCAD €41,603 47
RCSI €64,498 71
St Angela's College, Sligo  €71,748 109
Athlone IT €272,480 387
CIT €515,866 500
IADT €101,760 0 - all procured directly
Dundalk IT €257,965 315
GMIT €357,694 403
IT Carlow €529,694 671
IT Sligo €263,885 397
IT Tralee €151,199 127
Letterkenny IT €373,339 350
Limerick IT €384,980 622
Waterford IT €522,544 844
St. Patrick's College, Maynooth €13,751 15
Marino Institute of Education  €45,373 47
National College of Ireland €222,942 288
Total  €10,000,000 11640

ETB Grant Allocated Devices (HEAnet) Devices (Procured directly)  Total Devices 
Cavan and Monaghan ETB €211,000 160 160 320
City of Dublin ETB €887,000 1200 90 1290
Cork ETB €469,500 647 0 647
Donegal ETB €184,500 550 0 550
Dublin and Dun Laoghaire ETB €489,000 693 0 693
Galway and Roscommon ETB €326,000 498 1 499
Kerry ETB €176,500 282 0 282
Kildare and Wicklow ETB €240,500 356 0 356
Kilkenny and Carlow ETB €171,500 0 343 343
Laois and Offaly ETB €145,000 0 300 300
Limerick Clare ETB €385,000 0 900 900
Longford and Westmeath ETB €145,500 0 120 120
Louth and Meath ETB €313,500 250 173 423
Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim ETB €263,000 400 0 400
SOLAS Funded Groups €35,500 0 TBC TBC
Tipperary ETB €191,000 200 0 200
VSCCS €58,000 0 TBC TBC
Waterford and Wexford ETB €308,000 453 0 453
Total  €5,000,000 5689 2087 7776

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