Laptops for Leaving Certificate initiative supports local students
By Aideen O'Flaherty
SOME local secondary school pupils are struggling to get their schoolwork done as they are trying to do their homework using phones, or late in the evening using shared laptops, which has led two local women to develop the Laptops for Leaving Certs initiative to benefit Tallaght schools.
Fianna Fáil councillor Deirdre O’Donovan spoke to local secondary school teacher Michele Crossan earlier this year, where she discovered that almost half of the students going into 6th Year didn’t have access to their own dedicated laptop for schoolwork.
While many local schools received donations of laptops from the Trinity Access Programme (TAP) shortly after the lockdown, Ms Crossan foresaw a need for more laptops in this academic year, as there is still a degree of uncertainty around how the year will progress.
Many teachers no longer take up copybooks and require schoolwork to be done online instead, meaning students need a dedicated laptop for their studies.
Ms Crossan told The Echo: “What I found was that a lot of my students were using their phones or sharing devices with family members who were working from home to do their homework.
“Some of them were trying to work off phones with cracked screens, and some of them didn’t have enough space on their phones to download the apps they needed for their schoolwork.
“It would be a huge benefit for them to have devices like laptops that they can use properly.”
After hearing about these issues, Cllr O’Donovan decided to set up the Laptops for Leaving Certs initiative, as it was felt that 6th years should be the priority as they are in an important exam year, and she asked Ms Crossan to help by reaching out to other schools in the area facing the same issue.
They are now appealing to local people to donate their laptops, which will be professionally wiped and will enable local secondary school students to complete their work comfortably.
Cllr O’Donovan told The Echo: “[Not having access to a laptop] puts disadvantaged kids at an even further disadvantage.
“Now, teachers want everything to be done remotely through technology.
“This is impacting a lot of kids, so we’ve kickstarted the Laptops for Leaving Certs initiative.
“How many people have a laptop or tablet that they don’t use anymore? We’re asking people to donate those items to this initiative.
“We want to draw on the incredible community spirit shared during the Coronavirus crisis to ask for donations of laptops or tablets in good working order for Leaving Cert students struggling to complete coursework and study remotely due to Covid 19 restrictions.”
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