By Dan Walsh
Wexford students are set to benefit from funding announced today (Monday) by the Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris TD of €5.8 million granted for community education under the Mitigating against Educational Disadvantage Fund.
The funding will be administered by the Education and Training Boards and the Waterford and Wexford ETB will manage €788,739 for the two counties.
The announcement has been warmly welcomed by Wexford Senator Malcolm Byrne who has campaigned for extra supports for disadvantaged students, especially those who may not have access to their own laptops or tablets. The allocation to the South-East is one of the largest in the country.
“This fund will particularly help with developing individuals’ digital skills and we need to ensure that all learners have access to the technology to do this. I’ve spoken a lot about the digital divide that the pandemic has exposed even more,” Senator Byrne told WexfordLocal.com
The Fund aims to increase the participation of disadvantaged learners, particularly with the digital infrastructure including providing devices and software, thus increasing their capacity to deliver online learning.
Minister Harris told WexfordLocal.com; “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.”
The fund is aimed at supporting and engaging with disadvantaged learners, reaching out, encouraging and supporting learners to re-engage with education and training and attracting new learners to engage with education and training opportunities.