Minister for Education and Skills announces €7m in grants

12th May, 2015

Minister for Education and Skills announces €7m in grants to 450 post-primary schools to support implementation of Design and Communication Graphics programme

The Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O'Sullivan TD, has today announced that she is making available €7 million in grants for schools to help implement the Design and Communication Graphics (DCG) curriculum.

DCG, introduced in 2007, is one of the main Leaving Certificate subjects where information technology is a central requirement in assessment methodology. Last year, over 5,400 students sat the subject for the Leaving Certificate, and it is studied in 450 schools.

Announcing the grants, Minister O'Sullivan said: "My Department recognises the importance of DCG as it directly contributes to the key skills required in Ireland's knowledge-based economy. It incorporates principles of science, materials, manufacture, design, technology and information technology".

Following a public procurement competition, a contract for CAD Software for Schools was awarded to Solid Solutions Ireland, the national reseller of Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corporation 3D Software, SOLIDWORKS, for the next six years. The Department of Education and Skills (DES) has purchased this software directly, in addition to the grants being announced today. A procurement committee, with representatives from the DES and various partner bodies, including teaching representatives, oversaw the procurement process.

The drawdown facility for computers has been put in place by the procurement committee with the support of the Office of Government Procurement. The computers are specially customised and tested to meet the demands of running SOLIDWORKS in a classroom environment.

Fujitsu Ireland, with its partners Smart Schools and Total Import Solutions, are supplying the Desktop computers. The Notebook Computers are being supplied by PC Peripherals.
The Minister said: "DCG is growing in schools here. In 2012, 5,319 candidates sat the exam, with the predicted 2015 figure standing at 5,705. The allocated funding has been increased accordingly and will ensure that this important subject continues to go from strength to strength. Letters will issue to schools detailing the amount of money they're being allocated.

"SOLIDWORKS is a worldwide industry leader in parametric CAD software and today's announcement will ensure that Irish students will remain at the cutting edge of design technology."

A professional development programme for the new CAD software is currently being formulated by the Professional Development Service for Teachers for autumn 2015, and details will be sent to schools. The first phase of support will involve online tutorials and supporting web resources. Phase two will include national workshops.

Notes for Editors:

Attached is a list of schools receiving grants.

Grants for Schools are calculated as follows:

  • 3-year average of students sitting the Leaving Certificate from 2012 to 2014 plus funding for one additional computer for teaching purposes in the DCG Department or
  • 4-year average of students sitting the Leaving Certificate from 2012 to 2015, plus funding for one additional computer for teaching purposes in the DCG Department.

Funding will be awarded on whichever is the higher of the two averages.

Funding is based on a grant of €1,150 per computer.

Software

The contract for the CAD Software for Schools was awarded to Solid Solutions Ireland for six years and three months, at a cost of €299,000.

Desktop

The Fujitsu Celsius 530 Mini Tower PC is the approved computer for Irish schools. The approved supplier is 'SmartSchools'. (www.smartschools.ie). The cost for the Mini Tower PC is €1,135.02, including VAT.

Notebook

The Lenovo Thinkpad W540 is the approved Notebook for Irish schools. The approved supplier is 'PC Peripherals' (www.pcp.ie). The cost for the Notebook is €1,351.77, including VAT.

t4 education pc peripheralsPlease see attached photo of Minister O'Sullivan with, from left to right:
Marin Byrne, PC Peripherals
Paul Roche, Smartschools
Seamus Shanahan, Solid Solutions
Paul Frost, Fujitsu Ireland
Jim Byrne, PC Peripherals

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