The Digital Wealth Project, a collaboration between Maynooth University and Microsoft Education Ireland, has been awarded a Rethink Ireland Education grant of €450,000.
The project is a school outreach programme which aims to address digital poverty and increase the digital capacity of 135 schools across Ireland. Through the Maynooth University STEM Passport for Inclusion initiative, the Digital Wealth Project will also meaningfully support working class girls to progress into STEM courses and careers.
As part of the programme, the project team are partnering with St Kevin’s Community College, Fonthill Road Clondalkin. The school has been identified as a leader in the digital space, with a focus on developing digital wealth for its students.
The grant has been awarded to the project as part of the Rethink Ireland Education Innovation Fund Awards. The Education Innovation Fund 2020 – 2023 announced today was created by Rethink Ireland with the support of the Department of Rural and Community Development (via the Dormant Accounts Fund).
The fund will support nine projects that are all focused on improving equal access to education and promoting economic empowerment.
Commenting on the award to Digital Wealth Project, Dr Katriona O’Sullivan Department of Psychology and the ALL Institute Maynooth University stated, “We are delighted to have been awarded this grant, which will make a significant contribution toward the work of the project. The Digital Wealth Project is an important research focus for not only communities but also individuals, as it looks to address digital poverty.
“Through a new framework that reconsiders the supports that schools need to move out of digital poverty, the project aims to ensure that 1000+ students, 300+ teachers and 135 schools nationwide have the digital commodities, capabilities, technology and infrastructure to ensure access to the digital world.”
Covid-19 is a massive disruption to Ireland’s education system. It exposes already vulnerable people to further educational disadvantage. It widens inequality and makes educational opportunities even harder to reach. Now is the time for swift action.