Written answers

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Department of Education and Skills

Third Level Education

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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169. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the steps he is taking to ensure that third-level educational institutions provide teaching and learning materials online, including lecture recordings, to facilitate distance learning. [25212/22]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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The pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives, not least through increased digital usage. Many more people are working remotely or learning online. As Ireland emerges from the pandemic, the government wants to capture and build upon the positive elements of this experience, in a considered and balanced way. €35.1m Covid-19 support funding was provided to institutions in 2020 to support the Transition to Online learning.

Further COVID support funding and Safe Return to Campus funding was provided in 2021, including funding towards Transition to Online. The final amount provided towards Transition to Online from the 2021 support funding will not be finalised until all relevant claim forms have been received and the review and analysis of the final claim forms are completed. As the past two years have shown, digitalisation is vital for our institutions, whether they have navigated periods of restrictions with staff working remotely or moved towards teaching online for the first time.

The Digital Ireland Framework will help fully realise many of the benefits of digital including: moreflexible and remote working and new job opportunities; more efficient and accessible services for all by making connectivity available to everyone, through the National Broadband Plan, Remote Working Hubs and Broadband Connection Points. The new strategy aims to provide digital skills for all – from school, to further and higher education, to life-long learning, with a target of increasing the share of adults with at least basic digital skills to 80% by 2030. Through the Harnessing Digital Strategy, Government will deliver High-Level Digital Skills through more and diverse pathways in HE and FETincluding the development of targeted short-cycle tertiary programmes, flexible modular programmes, and the further development of micro-credentials to help meet the upskilling and reskilling challenge of our digital transition


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