THE Federal Government appears to be backing away from its election promise to provide a computer for every senior secondary student, with Education Minister Julia Gillard now conceding the plan is a “long-term vision” that might not be achieved in Labor’s first term.
The Government is also facing questions over its claim that the neediest schools will be the first to benefit, after it emerged that two well-resourced government schools in Victoria had been big winners in the first round of funding.
The two, Bendigo Senior Secondary College and Balwyn High School, were among almost 900 schools named by the Government yesterday as recipients of funding for computers under Labor’s so-called “digital education revolution”.
As it announced the first allocations for 116,000 computers, the Government appeared to be distancing itself from its election pledge to give every student from years 9 to 12 access to a computer, with yesterday’s recipients getting enough funding to eventually provide one computer for every two students.
ALP policy documents state that: “A Rudd Labor Government will revolutionise classroom education by putting a computer on the desk of every upper secondary student.” However, Ms Gillard said yesterday “an effective ratio of one-to-one” was a “long-term vision” for which $1.2 billion had been budgeted over the next five years, prompting questions as to whether it would be achieved.
Well who would have thought that the Rudd governments plan to give “every” high school student would so soon be whittled back to giving every student half of a computer?
I had my doubts about the wisdom of Labor’s scheme in the first place but this story that they are now aiming for every child to have a half share of a computer just seems so silly I thought that the point of each child having their own lap top was so that they could do their individual work on then how is this to be achieved if they have to share a machine?
And another thought that occurs to me concerns which operating system will be installed on these machines? One would hope that it is not Microsoft’s dreaded Vista which has such poor computability to so many common software applications that many people are going back to the XP operating systems.
What is the bet though that the mainstream media quickly soft peddle this very obvious back down on one of Labor’s key election promises?
Two to one odds Comrades