The federal government says its Computers in Schools project is on schedule for completion by its December 2011 deadline, despite a significant shortfall in rollout rates in October last year.
Federal education minister, Peter Garrett, said a total of 590,000 computers had been rolled out by the end of June this year; 75 per cent of the 696,000 PCs to be delivered.
“All state and territory education ministers have provided me with written assurances that they are on track to meet the 1:1 ratio for all students between Years 9-12,” Garrett said.
The speed of the rollout has evidently increased since October 2010 when rates suggested a shortage of some 203,143 computers by the December 2011 deadline.
At the time, the Federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), told Computerworld Australia 345,000 units had been rolled out since November 2007. This figure was just 44 per cent of the total 696,000 computers funded.
According to Garrett, the PCs have been used by language teachers to set up a wiki page with native speakers in other countries for Australian students to communicate with students overseas in real time.
“History students are able to access the National Library and other digital archives to look at original documents such as Captain Cook’s diary, while other schools are using Skype sessions to communicate with students from vastly different communities, such as students in Western Sydney talking to their counterparts in the outback.”
The initiative is part of the Gillard government’s $2.4 billion Digital Education Revolution (DER), increased from the original $1.2 billion announced in 2007, to equip Australian schools with digital learning tools for up to seven years in total.
The project has come under repeated scrutiny with both Prime Minister Julia Gillard and former PM Kevin Rudd forced to defend the program early last year.
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