University joins forces in laptop appeal to tackle school digital divide

Mike Hartnett, COPE Volunteer, Imelda Byrne of NUI Galway Access Centre and Lucie Canavan, volunteer coordinator, COPE urging the public and businesses to get behind #Tech2Students appeal.
Feb 08 2021 Posted: 10:16 GMT

#Tech2Students campaign aims to deliver more than 5000 devices nationwide

The Access Centre at NUI Galway has urged the public and businesses to get behind a new #Tech2Students appeal to secure and supply laptops and devices for disadvantaged schools.

In partnership with Trinity College Dublin and Camara Ireland, the University has teamed up with Insight, the SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway, the Galway City Partnership and Galway Chamber, as part of a drive to bridge the digital divide for post-primary school students.

The #Tech2Students campaign aims to raise more than €1 million and to deliver more than 5000 devices nationwide.

Imelda Byrne, Head of NUI Galway’s Access Centre, said: “The pandemic has brought into sharp focus the disadvantages faced by students who are financially vulnerable. Remote learning is a challenge to all students, but in particular to those who have no access to a device.

“We are appealing to members of the public and businesses who are in a position to support this scheme to donate and to contribute to minimising the digital divide faced by thousands of young people.”

#Tech2Students was developed last April by Trinity Access and Camara Ireland in response to the digital divide experienced by students in DEIS schools which was exacerbated by Covid-19. Phase 1 raised more than €300,000 and delivered more than 1,000 devices.

How can the public and businesses support the #Tech2Students appeal?
There are three options - donate laptops made in or after 2015; donate Chromebooks; or make a financial contribution to the fund for refurbishing laptops.

Who is going to benefit?
All donations will be targeted towards post-primary students who are most in need, along with students living in direct provision and disadvantaged students in adult education.

What happens to the devices which have been donated?
All laptops and Chromebooks will be refurbished by being restored to factory settings. Any data on the hard drive will be wiped using a certified process. A new operating system will be installed before the device is given to a student. Tablets cannot be accepted. Schools and organisations will retain the devices after the students use them for the academic year.

How can laptops or devices be donated?
Any member of the public or business wishing to get involved or seeking to donate can contact

A dedicated information page and portal for financial donations as well as hardware has also been set up at

Galway Chamber is facilitating a special organised drop-off, in line with Covid restrictions, tomorrow Tuesday 9th February, from 2pm to 4pm, at the Galway Chamber office.

People can also donate by post by filling out a donation form online. The Tech2Students team will make follow-up contact and issue An Post FreePost labels and instructions on sending a device through the local post office.

Kenny Deery, chief executive of Galway Chamber, said: “The Tech2Students campaign has shown that more than half of students in DEIS post-primaries reported that they had limited or no access to a digital device. This campaign is so important as the Level 5 Covid restrictions have meant that virtually all students are relying on technology to access education. Many of us in business know that we have spare equipment that could make a huge difference and Tech2Students is a perfect opportunity to do so.”

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