Father fears cost of school iPad plan

A cash-strapped father fears he will have to borrow from the credit union if his local secondary school goes ahead with plans to introduce iPads this year.

Carndonagh Community School in Co Donegal hosted an information meeting recently to discuss proposals to introduce tablet computers for 180 first year pupils in September.

But not all parents are happy about the school going down the ebook route. “The cost of the iPad system is €750, according to information that we recently received from the school,” said the man, who did not want to be named.

“For anyone not getting a book grant this is practically unaffordable. I am still in a job but my wages have been cut. I will not be in receipt of a book grant which apparently may also be used to help pay for an iPad.”

The man has two more children due to start secondary school over the next three years and says he cannot afford to buy three handheld computers.

He also feared ebooks licences would have to be renewed after a fixed period, weakening the argument they are more cost-effective in the long run than buying new editions of textbooks.

Paul Fiorentini, principal of the 972-pupil school, said a final decision had not been made on introducing tablet computers to the classroom.

“We acknowledge the financial commitment this entails and we wouldn’t undertake it lightly. We have sent a survey to all of the parents of the incoming first years and they have been invited to respond to us with their views. We haven’t made a final decision yet.”

Mr Fiorentini said parents were told new pupils would have the option of using either textbooks or ebooks.

However, those against the proposal say children want to blend in. “My child does not want to be different to anyone else in the class and therefore wants us to buy an iPad. I feel that I will now have little option but to look for another credit union loan to finance this ridiculous idea.”


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