Mr O' Connell said;
"A recent study commissioned by local Sinn Féin found that 62% of parents find school books to be the highest expense during the dreaded back to school period. It's not surprising when you consider that these books are constantly updated and reprinted to meet the demands of an ever changing curriculum and most schools still favour using expensive workbooks instead of copies."
"Only 57% of parents surveyed said that they would like to see schools switch to using laptops, e-books and iPads in order to cut down on the expense of school books and writing materials. This is because they presume that digital learning will be more expensive. This does not have to be the case."
"The government has an obligation to make affordable digital learning possible in this state. Last year we called on the government to enter talks with Apple, Samsung and other producers of digital tablets in order to usher in a new era of state funded electronic learning. There is a even more exciting possibility. The state could produce its own tablets, not just creating digital learning devices for our children but in doing so, creating thousands of new jobs and a whole new industry as well."
"Digital learning has proven itself time and time again is studies. In California, where state funded digital learning has already been introduced, a study done by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt showed that students using iPads saw their math test scores increase 20% in one year compared to students using traditional textbooks. If we are to build the smart economy that Fine Gael and Labour like to talk about so much, then this is the foundation for it."