The Federal Government in Australia has allocated a second round funding of US$91 million to enable almost 1400 schools nationwide to purchase computers for students.
Speaking from Caboolture State High School in Queensland, the Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, said the second round funding would put more than 141,000 computers into the hands of Year nine to 12 students.
“Every secondary school in the country has had the ability to apply for assistance to bring them to a student to computer ratio of one-to-two for students,” said Gillard.
“The government’s digital education revolution will take the ratio to one-to-one and we will achieve that in 2011.”
Gillard said that changes in round two funding included more than US$193,000 given to 26 schools to buy learning tools for students with disabilities. She added that the government had resolved the issue of laptop costs, including software licensing, maintenance and support staff training.
State Government estimates of these costs ranged from several hundred to thousands of dollars a computer.
It led to a determination by the Federal Government estimating the total cost per laptop to be up to US$1600 over four years, and a series of proposals to reduce upfront costs, including the use of open source USB sticks and cloud-based infrastructure.
“We have resolved those issues through an agreement to make available US$512 million to support on-costs. That money will be available to schools and school systems by the end of June this year, said Gillard.
She said the timetable for rollout for the new computers “is a matter for individual schools and school systems”.
The government will invest about US$1.3 billion over six years as part of the programme.
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