NI schools to receive 20,000 laptops

18 Feb 2008

Every school in Northern Ireland will receive brand new laptops before June 2008 under a new programme being rolled out by the Department of Education.

20,000 new laptops will be provided to nursery, primary, post-primary and special schools. Schools can decide how to use their allocated laptops. Teachers can use them for their own schoolwork or use them as additional classroom computers.

The programme will provide software, including titles from a bank of 250 curriculum resources, as well as Windows XP and access to the management information system in the school.

Under this C2k initiative, Northgate Education is providing the laptops as part of their ICT managed service to all schools in Northern Ireland. They will ensure hardware and software operates at maximum efficiency and the company’s helpdesk will provide backup support until November 2011.

“This is a pioneering project by the Department of Education,” Mary Kane, C2k implementation manager explained. “We are confident this huge investment will increase the pace at which ICT is being embedded in schools and will provide teachers with flexible and secure access to their schoolwork.”

Grove Primary in Belfast received six new Dell notebooks last week under the scheme. Susan Mitchell, ICT co-ordinator at the school, commented: “The introduction of the laptops has meant that teachers can now access school files at home, allowing them to download forms which are essential for tracking the progress of pupils. It also enables teachers to access the intranet from home and upload files to print off at school. This enables teachers to keep their pupils up-to-date with news and events as they happen.”

“All schools will have leading-edge laptops and it won’t cost them a single penny,” said Stuart Gunning, C2k client director at Northgate Education. “The C2k managed service laptop option will provide uiversal access for the first time. Increasingly, teachers have to juggle their time and cannot set aside specific periods to access ICT.”

By Niall Byrne