'NSW pulls out of computers-for-schools program'

The term ends and one would hope for more inspirational news from our political and system leaders. The above headline is from the ABC website and I am assuming it is reporting on yesterday’s memo from the Director-General but am uncertain what it will mean for us in schools who have already been allocated money/laptops from Round 1.  My school has been expecting 233 laptops and the wireless infrastructure to support these tools. Does this ‘pull out’ mean that we will not receive laptops or infrastructure. I hope not but am cautious about having too much faith in it all.

As you know we have been concentrating on professional development and introducing systems to support digital learning. We really need leadership at the moment and expectations are not being met. If the Rudd team to do not deliver they are likely to be a one-term Government. Others can comment on the NSW Labor Party’s chance of re-election in at the next state election.

The D-G’s memo I have posted below for those who haven’t seen it:

From: Director-General, DET
Sent: Thu 25/09/2008 2:27 PM
To: @DET-Principals Secondary Schools; @DET-Principals Schools for Specific Purposes
Subject: National Secondary School Computer update – 25 September 2008

Dear Colleagues,

As you are aware we’ve been negotiating with the Commonwealth to fund the legitimate and additional costs associated with deploying additional computers to schools.

These costs are real and include things like:

        *       teacher professional development,
        *       additional technical support,
        *       software licensing,
        *       network access, and
        *       internet download charges.

Today we operate over 195,000 computers across the department.

We simply can’t afford to deploy an extra 197,000 computers without the additional costs being met by the Commonwealth.

I’ve just learned that the Commonwealth’s work to review the legitimate and additional costs is delayed. A decision will not be made before the scheduled closing date for round two applications on 9 October, and probably not until sometime in November.

Given this, please do not apply for any computers under round two. We simply can’t endorse applications to the program until we know that the full costs are covered.

I remain confident that no school will be disadvantaged by this action.  We have asked the Commonwealth to consider extending the deadline for round two applications until after the funding is resolved in November.

At worst, there are a further two application rounds under the program.

I’m sorry that this news comes so late in the term.

Once again, many thanks for your continued support.

With my best regards,

Michael Coutts-Trotter
DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
MANAGING DIRECTOR OF TAFE NSW
25 September 2008

Copy to:
The Executive
Regional Directors
School Education Directors
State Office General Managers and Directors
Federation of Parents and Citizens Association

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11 Comments

  1. darcymoore:

    NSW Govt. denial, ‘We didn’t withdraw from PC program: NSW minister’:

    http://www.australianit.news.com.au/story/0,,24406900-5013040,00.html?from=public_rss

  2. Andrew Walker:

    The NSW Government my not have withdrawn from the program but it seems increasing unlikely that any of the round one computers will arrive in schools next year. In supplying the responses for the round one applications NSW DET basically said that we would have the infrastructure, tech support and training required to implement the scheme within 6 months. It is a pity that they didn’t recognize then that this would be an impossible task given the level of funding available. If DET had advised us not to apply for round one perhaps we could have bought this to a head before the budgets were delivered.

  3. Ho hum…. why doesn’t any of this suprise me? More point scoring by governments in the name of education.
    Enjoy your holidays Darcy

  4. darcymoore:

    Andrew, it would give you cold comfort that your predictions have come to pass. The challenges have apparently been too great for the state and our coffers too empty. Kids being issued with smartphones, using the 3G network would have been, in many ways, a better option. Oh well, our 960 students and 70+ staff will be too busy enjoying the government’s largesse – the one connected classroom – too care.

  5. darcymoore:

    Exactly Tony! NSW probably can’t fund the infrastructure required and have little choice but to play hard ball with their federal colleagues. Ultimately, if Mr Rudd is determined to have a revolution, Ms Gillard will need have Mr Swan work out where the money will come from – quickly! It is an outrageous prediction to suggest – less than 1 year in – that Rudd will lead for a solitray term but I have this feeling that he needs to deliver more than committee deliberations and slogans.

  6. darcymoore:

    http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/maralynparker/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/nsw_says_no_to_the_rudd_revolution_computers#41759

    Maralyn Parker writes:

    “So are we witnessing the wheels falling of the Rudd education band wagon? I doubt it.

    With a surplus of $41 billion there is plenty of federal money around to help our cash-strapped state deliver.

    But I expect this is the end of the happy COAG family get togethers. The NSW government can’t afford to pay for its own election promises, Kevin Rudd has no chance it will meet his promises.

    And you have to wonder at the timing – the Federal Parliament just had a second reading of the the bill that gives the nation’s private schools $28 billion under a scheme where 60 % are over-funded.”

  7. darcymoore:
  8. darcymoore:
  9. I have been following the (non) developments with the “Digital Revolution” in NSW from afar of late. To be more precise from a desk in a small box, in the DET corporate environment. Maybe, I am a little out of touch…and getting just a little peeved about the way the whole “revolution” seems to be not developing in NSW public schools. Anyway, here goes:
    The DR was and still is a good concept.
    Laptops for students as proposed in the DR was and still is a good concept.
    Are private schools worrying about on-costs? Did I miss that debate?

    If I were a student in a NSW public school, in line for a laptop, I would be wondering by now where mine was.

    What do our parents (really) think about the delays? Did I miss that debate too?

    I am not sure it is the Rudd concept or team that is the issue or problem here.

    Thanks Darcy for your stimulus to comment.

  10. Andrew FitzSimons:

    This is urgent. We are falling behind our private provision; un-bearable. I am still not absolutely convinced our schools are culturally prepared for laptops, let alone physically, but we have to get onto the front foot.

    Receiving half as many laptops tomorrow would be far better than our full allocation at some unspecified time in the future.

    I am guessing tha it will be at least 12 months from agreement until 233 lap tops are delivered to Dapto HS. ie Term One 2010 is the first time they coud be of use!

    No one seems to know the current status of the T4L rollout;

  11. Andrew W:

    I have to disagree with the above post. NSW state schools applied for computers in round one by filling the “form” in with answers supplied by DET. In these answers we stated that we would have the network and support structures required in place within 6 months.
    Over 6 months later we don’t even have plans for this. We could not effectively use 100 notebooks delivered tomorrow and by trying to do so would do more harm than good.

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