From today Australian secondary schools most in need of new information technology will be able to make an application to the $1 billion National Secondary School Computer Fund.
The Rudd Government has undertaken an initial audit of Australia’s secondary schools and found that 937 of them have a computer to student ratio of 1:8 or worse. The ratio only counts computers that are four years or younger.
The audit identified 295,972 students in the 937 secondary schools as benefiting from the first round offer. Seventy per cent of the students attended State Government schools, 20 per cent attended Catholic schools and 10 per cent attended Independent schools.
The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations has written to the 937 schools and invited them to apply for funding in the first round to increase their computer to student ratio to 1:2.
The audit found that the average computer to student ratio in Australian secondary schools for years 9 to 12 students is 1:5.
As promised the Rudd Government will deliver the first $100 million of funding by June.
This is the first part of the Rudd Government’s plan to deliver a Digital Education Revolution and bring our schools into the 21st Century, ensuring all students in years 9 to 12 have access to up-to-date information and communication technology in their classrooms.
Prior to the second round of offers the Australian Government will undertake further discussions with the States and Territories about the ongoing implementation of the program. This is part of a strategic partnership with our State and Territory colleagues to deliver a world class education system.
Round one will deliver funding for schools to purchase technology such as laptop computers, desktop computers and thin clients with virtual desktops as well as data projectors, interactive whiteboards, digital cameras and other technologies. In Round One priority will be given to the purchase of desktop computers, laptops and thin clients.
The audit was completed with State and Territory Education Departments, the Associations of Independent Schools and the Catholic Education Offices.
Applications for Round One close on 4 April 2008. Applications for Round Two will be open to all Australian secondary schools from July 2008.
Further information about the National Secondary School Computer Fund can be found at: www.digitaleducationrevolution.gov.au