NSW Treasurer caves to computers-for-schools

States face four-fold maintenance cost blow-out

The NSW government has buckled and signed on to the federal government's $1.2 billion computers-for-schools plan after allegedly demanding an extra $245 million to cover implementation costs.

The move comes hours before the deadline for states to register for the plan -- a key election promise -- which will deliver laptops to every school student between Years 9 to 12 by 2012.

In leaked media reports yesterday, it was alleged NSW Treasurer Michael Costa had demanded the federal government foot the bill for implementation of its computers received under the plan.

NSW has received $56 million out of the $116 million available in the first round of funding which would supply 116,820 computers to 896 schools at a ratio of about two students per machine.

The plan may be a rotten apple for the states who must pay maintenance and support costs which will total up to four times the cost of deploying the computers, according to figures held by the NSW Department of Education and Training.

The pre-budget figures state that $3 to $4 must be spent on maintenance and support for every $1 allocated to the purchase or upgrading of computers.

South Australia and Western Australia have also expressed doubt over whether the $1.2 billion is sufficient to supply laptops to the country's 1 million school children.

NSW Teachers Federation deputy president Bob Lipscombe said the government placed its emphasis on deploying computers and ignored implementation costs.

"If the federal government does not allocate sufficient funds to meet these costs, it is clear that the state government will not pick up the shortfall," Lipscombe said.

"The rollout of computer technology into NSW public schools has for too long been characterised by poor decisions; a lack of regard for the views of the profession and an emphasis on providing hardware to schools with little regard for the professional development, infrastructure and technological support necessary to effectively utilise it."

The states could be forced to fork out an extra $3 billion, WA premier Alan Carpenter told the 7.30 report..

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told media outside a community cabinet meeting in Mackay that the funding shortfall will be addressed at a Council Of Australia governments (COAG) meeting on Thursday.

"We will continue to negotiate [with the states] but the program will go on," Rudd said.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Darren Pauli

Computerworld

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?