Economy Minister Diane Dodds today announced a £2.9 million package of support for further education students to address digital poverty.
Eligible full time and part time further education students will receive a one-off payment of £60 to help address data costs incurred through remote learning. Furthermore, 500 additional devices will be distributed to students most in need.
The Minister said:
“Our local further education colleges were quick to react to the pandemic and make the move to online teaching. This has been very effective under the circumstances but it has come at a cost for students in terms of device and data usage.
“I am pleased to confirm that I have secured an additional £2.9million funding to help both full time and part time further education students for this expense. A one-off payment of £60 will be made to eligible full time and part time students in further education colleges in Northern Ireland.
“Digital poverty should not be a barrier to learning and this additional support will help address that challenge. I continue to do all I can to support learners on further education courses through the pandemic.”
The data poverty payments will be issued to students by their colleges. To ensure payment can be made as quickly as possible colleges will contact their students to ensure they have all necessary details.
This £2.9million allocation is in addition to £4.8million Covid-19 funding previously provided to further education colleges for IT equipment to allow continued access from home for both college staff and students.
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