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Pupils can now access Britannica at home

SCHOOLchildren will now have online access to the Encyclopedia Britannica from their own homes.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has announced that Britannica Online will be available to both primary and second level students at home through scoilnet.ie.

The encyclopedia has been open to children in their schools for the past three years at a cost to the taxpayer of €450,000 annually.

The scheme was initially agreed by the previous government, but was only extended after a public procurement process last summer.

Reaction to the announcement has been largely positive.

However, principal of Dublin school St Joseph's CBS in Fairview, Padraig O Fainin, told the Herald: "I don't think it'll make much difference to be honest.

"Schools are fairly high-tech as it is, we've already got the internet at our fingertips.



revolutionary

"Anything that provides free educational access to students is good, but it's not as revolutionary as it would have been five to 10 years ago."

Mr Quinn said it is important that students are able to learn at home as well: "Our children and young people will now have access to Britannica Online in their own homes and this means that whatever their ability, they can learn at their own pace."

However, some teachers stressed that children with little access to the internet at home will still struggle.

hnews@herald.ie