Almost €450k for online learning for disadvantaged Laois adults
Laois adults with difficulty reading or with no computer skills are to get extra help and equipment with the announcement today of a €447,801 grant.
The grant announced this Monday, February 8 by Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris TD, is part of a €5.8 million fund for community education under the Mitigating against Educational Disadvantage Fund.
The Laois Offaly Education and Training Board will administer it here.
The recipients include Laois travellers, Laois schools and disability groups.
See FULL LIST of recipients below story.
The money has been welcomed by Laois Offaly politicians.
Fianna Fáil's Sean Fleming TD is Minister of State in the Department of Finance.
"This fund will help LOETB increase its capacity in providing digital services and additional computers and laptops to help online learning. There are many people with reading difficulties and no computer skills in our community. This funding will help redress this issue and make sure we have an Ireland for all," he said.
It is "very welcome news" says Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture is Offaly Green Party Senator Pippa Hackett.
"This funding is designed to reduce the level of educational disadvantage experienced by many adults, particularly those who don’t have the digital skills or infrastructure to avail of online learning. Being able to take on a study course during this time of restriction is of great benefit. This funding will help to make that happen," she said.
Fine Gael TD Charlie Flanagan has also welcomed the fund announced by his party colleague Minister Harris.
“This new funding for Laois & Offaly ETB was secured as part of Budget 2021 to support community education for adult learners, who have the highest level of need. It will help to increase the participation of disadvantaged learners across Laois & Offaly. It encourages and supports them to re-engage with education and training and also helps attract new learners to engage with education and training opportunities.
“The fund has a particular focus on assisting learners with digital infrastructure, including providing devices and software, and increasing their capacity to deliver online learning.
“Crucially, it aims at helping build the digital infrastructure of providers, and their capability to ensure that online learning can be delivered in a way that meets the complex needs of all learners,” Dep Flanagan said.
Speaking today, Minister Harris said: "We know that too many people in Ireland have difficulties with reading, with numbers or with digital skills. Some people may not have got the help they needed earlier in their lives, but what I want people to know is that there is friendly and non-judgemental help there for you now. There are services all over Ireland which will gladly assist you with the skills you’d like to learn.
"One of the things that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted was educational inequality – be it a lack of devices like laptops or someone not having the connectivity to study online. The funding I am announcing today is specifically designed to tackle those inequalities and support access to community education.
"Education is for everyone, for all your life, and I am determined that my department will be part of building an inclusive Ireland where nobody is left behind."