The Department of Education and Science has selected Cara Group to implement the service desk component of the Irish Government’s schools broadband initiative.
The service desk will serve as a single point of contact for schools in relation to broadband services. The company will implement its IT Infrastructure Library to provide service to more than 4,500 schools.
“The No 1 challenge we face is the roll out of the broadband solution,” said Dermot Woodgate, Cara Group’s business development manager. “It involves connecting 4,500 schools in a very tight time frame. As is widely known, a number of different telecommunications carriers are involved and the project covers a wide geography. While we will not be involved in the roll out per se, we will be providing service desk to the other parties in the roll out.”
According to Woodgate, the company has an established track record in dealing with the public service, including the education sector, both in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland. “We have extensive experience in the educational sector,” said Woodgate. “We have been selling hardware and services to education clients for more than 20 years. We have also provided network solutions, desktop PCs, servers and cabling to a larger number of schools. We also provide a large amount of software to schools, primarily utilities and security software. Thanks to this experience we are well aware of the state of technology in the nation’s schools and we are familiar with the issues they face.”
One of the issues is the vast array of hardware and network equipment found in Irish schools. Woodgate, however is confident that this diversity will not pose a problem. “The service desk solution is primarily involved in supporting broadband rollout and services,” he pointed out. “It is not a general purposes IT support for schools. If there is a problem with an individual server or PC it will be outside our scope. We expect the bulk of problems we will deal with will be connectivity issues and with services provided over the broadband network such as email. There will always be grey areas in the matter of problem ownership but we will follow a well structured protocol. We will retain ownership of an issue but its resolution may lie outside ourselves in a number of cases.”
The service desk will be under the direction of the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) and will be integrated with the wide range of supports already being provided by the NCTE to schools on the use of ICT for learning and teaching. According to Woodgate, it will initially be available during core school hours with scaled down presence during school holidays.
Pictured were Jerome Morrissey, director of the NCTE and David Little, managing director of Cara Group
By Ian Campbell