Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne TD has called on the Department of Education and Skills to support students who cannot participate in remote learning due to a lack of equipment or a broadband connection.

Deputy Byrne said, “There are thousands of students in the country trying to keep up with their studies from home but many face a disadvantage as they don’t own a laptop or have adequate broadband connectivity. This week the National Parents Council Post Primary (NPCPP) found that one in five pupils did not have access to reliable broadband while two in five experience intermittent service.

“The Department need to clarify if they have done their own research on the number of students without access to broadband or equipment such as laptops or tablets. If no such research has been conducted this should be done immediately.

“I understand in the UK students who require supports will be provided with free tablets or laptops as well as a 4G router for broadband access. This will ensure their ability to study is equal to their classmates while students remain at home due to the public health measures.

“Unlike our neighbours in the UK the stakes are higher here. We have students preparing to sit State Examinations. I have no doubt right now there are students without the proper facilities to study at home through no fault of their own. The Department of Education and Skills need to step up and support these students during this time,” concluded Deputy Byrne.