The Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD, has today announced that she is making available €7 million in grants for schools to help implement the Design and Communication Graphics (DCG) curriculum.
DCG, introduced in 2007, is one of the main Leaving Certificate subjects where information technology is a central requirement in assessment methodology. Last year, over 5,400 students sat the subject for the Leaving Certificate, and it is studied in 450 schools.
Announcing the grants, Minister O’Sullivan said: “My Department recognises the importance of DCG as it directly contributes to the key skills required in Ireland’s knowledge-based economy. It incorporates principles of science, materials, manufacture, design, technology and information technology”.
Following a public procurement competition, a contract for CAD Software for Schools was awarded to Solid Solutions Ireland, the national reseller of Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corporation 3D Software, SOLIDWORKS, for the next six years. The Department of Education and Skills (DES) has purchased this software directly, in addition to the grants being announced today. A procurement committee, with representatives from the DES and various partner bodies, including teaching representatives, oversaw the procurement process.
The drawdown facility for computers has been put in place by the procurement committee with the support of the Office of Government Procurement. The computers are specially customised and tested to meet the demands of running SOLIDWORKS in a classroom environment.
Fujitsu Ireland, with its partners Smart Schools and Total Import Solutions, are supplying the Desktop computers. The Notebook Computers are being supplied by PC Peripherals.
The Minister said: “DCG is growing in schools here. In 2012, 5,319 candidates sat the exam, with the predicted 2015 figure standing at 5,705. The allocated funding has been increased accordingly and will ensure that this important subject continues to go from strength to strength. Letters will issue to schools detailing the amount of money they’re being allocated.
“SOLIDWORKS is a worldwide industry leader in parametric CAD software and today’s announcement will ensure that Irish students will remain at the cutting edge of design technology.”
A professional development programme for the new CAD software is currently being formulated by the Professional Development Service for Teachers for autumn 2015, and details will be sent to schools. The first phase of support will involve online tutorials and supporting web resources. Phase two will include national workshops.
The contract for the CAD Software for Schools was awarded to Solid Solutions Ireland for six years and three months.
Please see attached photo of Minister O’Sullivan with, from left to right:
Marin Byrne, PC Peripherals - Paul Roche, Smartschools - Seamus Shanahan, Solid Solutions Ireland - Paul Frost, Fujitsu Ireland - Jim Byrne, PC Peripherals