Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny has announced plans for a radical overhaul of the education system, which would include giving all secondary school students laptop computers and standardised literacy and numeracy tests.

Mr Kenny said that Fine Gael in government would also introduce a five-yearly audit of teacher skills, as well as premium payments for teachers in disadvantaged schools.

The party also says that it would introduce these measures within five years if returned to government.

Speaking at a party function in Dublin this afternoon, the Fine Gael leader said that Ireland's education system had to make a quantum leap if the country is to become a world leader in the new knowledge economy.

He told party members that Fine Gael would also set up a €100 million Schools' Excellence Fund, which would be used for teacher recruitment, and to fund initiatives taken by individual schools.