Improved rural broadband will have a positive impact on schools

Education Minister Peter WeirEducation Minister Peter Weir
Education Minister Peter Weir | Other 3rd Party
Education Minister, Peter Weir, believes that ongoing improvements to broadband provision across Northern Ireland will have an positive impact on rural schools in Northern Ireland with the roll-out of Project Stratum.

The minister was responding to a question which was raised by DAERA committee chairman, Declan McAleer (Sinn Fein, West Tyrone) in the chamber during recent education questions and answers.

Mr McAleer asked the minister if his department had any plans to ensure that, with the roll-out of Project Stratum, schools in rural areas will benefit from improved broadband connectivity.

Mr Weir remarked: “The direct detail on the broadband strategy, which I think schools can benefit from, is ultimately being driven by the Department for the Economy.

“Indeed, it is important that promises that were made on the investment in broadband infrastructure are delivered on by government centrally.

“As I said, the detail of the roll-out is a matter directly for a different department, but improved rural broadband will have a very positive impact on our schools.

“I have visited schools and seen, quite often on some of the digital skills and the use of good broadband, very intelligently used teaching techniques to make use of electronic devices.”

In reply to further questions on rural school broadband connectivity, the minister said: “We need to make sure that we are well placed on connectivity.

“On the 14-to-19 strategy, for example, I will be looking to work with the department for the economy.

“Issues around early interventions, for example, are sometimes cross-cutting between Health and even Justice or Communities. Mental health issues in schools are also cross-cutting.

“Therefore, a lot of this requires joined-up thinking and joined-up work.

“I will be very happy to work on the broadband issue with my colleague and, indeed, with other departments to help to deliver that.”