The Federal Government is edging closer to its deadline for delivering laptops to all school students between year nine and year 12, with 75 per cent of laptops reportedly delivered as of 30 June 2011.
The Federal Government program to deliver a computer to every child from year nine to year 12 was first announced in 2007 by the newly elected Rudd Labor Government as part of the $2.2 billion Digital Education Revolution scheme.
While the initial roll-out of the laptops commenced slowly, reaching only 38 per cent of over 700,000 in December 2010, the program has greatly accelerated in the last few months. In a Senate Estimates hearing in Canberra this afternoon, Department of Education Officials confirmed that as of 30 June, 579,879 laptops had been delivered to students across Australia.
This represents approximately 75 per cent of the total roll-out, with around 200,000 laptops left to deliver before the end of the year, officials said.
NBN in schools
As part of a raft of savings announced in this year's federal budget, the government announced that it was axing the $100 million Fibre to Schools program, with the expectation that this program would be largely replaced with the roll-out of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
After Queensland Liberal Senator Brett Mason today pushed the department to reveal the total number of schools that had subsequently been connected to the government's NBN, officials revealed that across the five release sites on the mainland and the first release sites in Tasmania, a total of 10 schools — six in Tasmania and four on the mainland — had been connected to the NBN. Of the schools on the mainland, however, there were only eight schools in total in the first release sites, and the other four schools had indicated that they had adequate fibre connections already, the department said.
While the number was low, the department indicated that more schools will soon begin to be included in the NBN roll-out. Following Tuesday's announcement of 28 new NBN sites, in addition to the second release sites, the department estimates that a total of 313 schools will be covered in the total 60 sites of the next phase of the NBN construction. This figure is subject to NBN Co finalising exact roll-out maps, the department said.
It is estimated that approximately 63 per cent of the 9693 schools across Australia already have a fibre connection.