Improve Computer Literacy Through Implementation of Proposed New Digital Strategy for Schools (IE0008)
Action Plan: Ireland, First Action Plan, 2014-16
Action Plan Cycle: 2014
Lead Institution: Department of Education & Science
Support Institution(s): Department of Education and Skills Support Services (Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST), Junior Cycle Team (JCT), National Induction Programme for Teachers (NIPT), Project Maths Development Team (PMDT), Special Education Support Service (SESS), and the National Behaviour Support Service (NBSS)), National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), Teaching Council, State Exams Commission (SEC), Inclusion Support Service (ISS), National Educational Psychological Services (NEPS) Initial Teacher Education Providers, Education Centres, HEAnet, Office of Government Procurement (OGP), Schools Procurement Unit, schools, Teachers and Students
Policy AreasCapacity Building, Education, Public Service Delivery
In the context of the development of the Digital Strategy for Schools the new policy challenges and opportunities arising from major developments in curricular reform, digital publishing, digital content dissemination tools generally, cloud services, portable computing and student devices, and the deployment of high speed broadband at post-primary level will be addressed.
IRM End of Term Status Summary
Cluster 4: Support Youth as Citizens and School Strategies (2.5.1, 2.5.2, 1.8)
2.5.1 - This ‘National Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-making
2.5.2 - Maximize participation and understanding of young people in civic life
1.8 - Digital strategy for schools
Action 2.5.1 - This ‘National Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-making (2014- 2020) will seek to ensure children and young people have a voice in decisions that affect their lives. It will include: Appropriate participation by children and young people in decision-making in the preparation of Statements of Strategy of all Government Departments and appropriate consultation with them in the development of policy and legislation. The establishment of a DCYA Children and Young People’s Participation Hub to become a national center of excellence on children and young people’s participation in decision-making. The Hub will provide information, guidance and support to Departments and agencies delivering commitments outlined in the Strategy action plan. It will also champion and promote participation, create resources and training materials, conduct training, document and disseminate learning and establish an online children’s participation database. The Hub will also partner with third level and adult education institutions to oversee development of education on children’s rights (including participation in decision-making) for professionals who work with and on behalf of children and young people. The role and capacity of Comhairle na nÓg will be enhanced through the development and implementation of a Five-Year Comhairle na nÓg Development Plan, aligned to Local Government structures and policies. The Five-Year Development Plan will address mechanisms for inclusion of the children under the age of 12 and of children and young people who are seldom heard. The development of guidance and training for Children Services Committees on engaging children and young people in decision-making. The development of a Toolkit on involving seldom heard children and young people in decision-making;
Action 2.5.2 - Encourage schools to explore how the new Junior Cycle can be delivered across the curriculum in terms of the 24 Statements of Learning identifying what students should know, understand and value by the end of the three-year cycle, including that students should “value what it means to be an active citizen, with rights and responsibilities in local and wider contexts”, in addition to any provision that they may make for Civic Social and Political Education (CSPE). Ensure Politics and Society will be implemented as a Senior Cycle subject;
Action 1.8 - In the context of the development of the Digital Strategy for Schools the new policy challenges and opportunities arising from major developments in curricular reform, digital publishing, digital content dissemination tools generally, cloud services, portable computing and student devices, and the deployment of high speed broadband at post-primary level will be addressed.
Responsible institution: Department of Education and Science
Action 2.5.1: Department of Education and Skills, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, Department of Health, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Education and Training Boards, Health Information and Quality Authority, Health Service Executive, Housing Authorities, HSE, Mental Health Services, Local Authorities, Local Government Management Authority, Mental Health Commission, National Council for Special Education, National Educational Psychological Service, National Transport Authority, The Teaching Council, Tusla – Child and Family Agency, Children and Young People’s Services Committees, Children’s Mental Health Coalition, Comhairle na nÓg, Drug and Alcohol Task Forces, Empowering People in Care (EPIC), Family Mediation Service, Headstrong Youth Advisory Panel, Healthy Ireland Council, Legal Aid Board, Local Community Development Committee, Rural Transport Network, Sports Partnerships, The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning
Action 2.5.2: None specified
Action 1.8: Department of Education and Skills Support Services (Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST), Junior Cycle Team (JCT), National Induction Programme for Teachers (NIPT), Project Maths Development Team (PMDT), Special Education Support Service (SESS), and the National Behaviour Support Service (NBSS)), National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), Teaching Council, State Exams Commission (SEC), Inclusion Support Service (ISS), National Educational Psychological Services (NEPS) Initial Teacher Education Providers, Education Centres, HEAnet, Office of Government Procurement (OGP), Schools Procurement Unit, schools, Teachers and Students
Start date: June 2014 End date: June 2016
These actions seek to encourage further youth participation in the decision-making process. This is achieved in three ways. Action 2.5.1 raises awareness of local governments and professionals on how to include children and young people in decision making.[Note 18: See related documents on bit.ly/1NAODcn (last accessed September 24, 2015). ] The strategy also recommends creating a participation hub to train locals on how to include children and young people.
Action 2.5.2 seeks to develope the understanding of active citizen involvement, and of technology-related citizenship activities. This is achieved by introducing the modules of politics, civil society, and wellbeing, which represent the core area of learning. Also, schools will be able to participate in various civic projects on the promotion of active citizenship. Action 1.8 aims to realize the potential of digital technologies to enhance teaching, learning and assessment so that Ireland’s young people become engaged thinkers, active learners, knowledge constructors, and global citizens that participate fully in society and the economy.
Before the OGP action plan, the actions were pre-existing policies. The policies were unrelated and under the lead of different departments. As such, the projects were all abandoned between 2010 and 2011. After the action plan was adopted, it opened the debate around the participation of children and young people in decision making at the local level. OGP led the Department of Education and Skills (DES) and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) to develop a comprehensive action plan for the achievement of this goal.
From the development of the action plan in 2014, the following goals were achieved as stated in interviews with government officials and reported in the midterm report:
- Action 2.5.1: the completion of the strategy on youth participation in decision making. The strategy involves an action plan on its implementation and material (on paper and online) aimed at promoting the strategy.
- Action 2.5.2: the completion of the syllabus for Politics and Civic Society. The module is entering a pilot stage from September 2015. The voluntary participation of schools to citizenship activities such as Proclamation Day, to coincide with the 1916 centenary.[Note 19: See bit.ly/1RE3Ew1 (last access September 24, 2015)]
End of term
Action 2.5.1 was completed in year one of the action plan and further details can be found in the IRM progress report. In the second year of the action plan, and as stated in the government’s end of term report, the Digital Strategy was launched in October 2015.[Note 20: This strategy can be found on: https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/Digital-Strategy-for-Schools-2015-2020.pdf ] Subsequently, an implementation Steering Group, tasked to ‘provide advice, monitor and report on the effective implementation of the Digital Strategy’, met in early July 2016.[Note 21: On the Terms of reference (i.e. full tasks) of the Steering group, and from which quote in this line is taken, please see: https://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Information/Information-Communications-Technology-ICT-in-Schools/Digital-Strategy-for-Schools/Steering-Group-Terms-of-Reference-and-Membership.pdf . The inaugural meeting of the Steering group was announced on: http://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Information/Information-Communications-Technology-ICT-in-Schools/Digital-Strategy-for-Schools/ ] While the government has made a firm commitment to introduce classes on Politics and Society, work continues around issues regarding teacher qualification and assessment. Given these observations, it can be concluded that, while progress has been made in year two of the action plan, both Actions 1.8 and 2.5.2 remain limited.
Did it open government?
Access to information: Did not change
Civic participation: Did not change
In terms of policy area, these actions were intended to enable greater participation amongst youth and children in in the decision-making process. However, considering the developments over the two- year action plan cycle in terms of opening government, the status quo remains. To be fair, with the completion of 2.5.1, a strategy was developed regarding young people’s participation in decision making. This signals potential for change if the strategies are acted on over the next year. This may allow for increased participation. But this, coupled with only limited completion of Actions 2.5.2 and 1.8 suggests that there has been no change, and that the strategies have yet to be rolled out.
These actions were partially carried forward into the next action plan. Following action 2.5.1, commitment 4 of the new action plan (Enhance Citizen Engagement in Policy Making) states as a milestone that the government will establish a Children and Young People’s Participation Hub to servce as a national center for the participation of children and young people. A strategy and roadmap for increasing participation has been established and can serve as a foundation to implement commitments similar to Actions 2.5.2 and 1.8.