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Coronavirus: schools gearing up for remote learning

A pupil learning remotely

The ministry of research, innovation, and digital policy is working to upgrade schools as regards equipment and connectivity ahead of the new year that starts on September 7.

Minister Kyriacos Kokkinos said there were three categories of infrastructure that had to be upgraded to be able to handle remote teaching.

They would need faster internet speed, upgraded security levels, and the necessary equipment, including personal computers, cameras, microphones, and speakers, he said.

Kokkinos said they decided to go with large screen televisions instead of projectors.

He said he hoped everything would be in place soon to be ready to move to plan B – remote learning — if necessary, at some point inside September.

As far as connectivity is concerned, by “September 7, some 80 per cent of the schools can be ready while the 15 per cent to 20 per cent, which may be left behind regards schools that need connection with fibre optics, which needs a week or two of additional work.”

Kokkinos said they were in the process of procuring upgraded equipment inside September and October.

“Because you can have remote education today if you want with the existing equipment but we have gone a step further.”

The minister said the estimated cost just for the connection would be around €350,000 per year compared with €260,000 currently.

The equipment will be rented at a cost of some €3m annually while a one-off sum of €150,000 per year will be paid on upgrades.

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