Rudd’s education revolution on hold

I was just reading an interesting article about Kevin Rudd’s fantastic election promise to provide every school student in grades 9 to 12 their own computer. I actually thought the idea was to give families money to buy one personally, but apparently the deal now is to give the money to schools so they can install them there for the students to use.

Okay cool. But there appear to be a number of minor problems with this;

First of all, they are rolling this out over the next five years. Thats not the show stopper, but still, one would have thought the simple process of buying computers could be done more quickly.

Second, the process for choosing which schools get funding seems a little odd.  Schools that already are well funded and have a high number of computers are getting the lions share of funding. NSW schools are also on the front foot, getting 71% of the first round of funding, while having only around 33% of the population. How does that work?

Third, the talk from the government now is that the plan is to get schools to a 1 computer to 2 students ratio. Thats a long way short of a computer for every student. The whole idea has now become, in Julia Gillards words, "a long term vision".  Come on Julia, it wasn’t a long term vision 10 months ago!

In reality, no school is likely to need an 1:1 computer/student ratio. Depending on your point of view, they either need less, or a whole lote MORE; Either many students at any given point in time are studying text books and doing written work, or physical education, or art, or music, or anything else that doesn’t normally need a computer, and hence the ratio need not be that high; Or computers should be a part of virtually every curriculum area in which case every desk needs a computer, not every student.

The point is that this is another half baked Labor party stunt that seemed awesome on election night, but in reality, will do nothing for the education of your kids.

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