Govt wraps up laptops for students scheme

Students in Years 9 to 12 who do not currently have a computer for school will receive a late Christmas present as the government completes its final delivery of computers under the National Secondary School Computer Fund over the summer holidays.

Students in Years 9 to 12 who do not currently have a computer for school will receive a late Christmas present as the government completes its final delivery of computers under the National Secondary School Computer Fund over the summer holidays.

(The times they are a'changing image by
Brett Jordan, CC2.0)

The scheme, which was started under the Rudd Government in 2007, aimed to provide over 786,000 computers to senior students in Australia.

According to School Education Minister Peter Garrett, 713,000 computers have already been installed in Australian schools. The rest will come over the break in time for the first day of school next year.

"In 2007, Labor promised Australian students that we would bring our schools into the digital age by providing enough computers for every senior high school student in the country, and we have delivered on that promise," Garrett said.

Queensland is one state that has already completed the roll-out of its share of the scheme. According to Queensland Education Minister Cameron Dick, more than 110,000 computers have been installed in state secondary schools across Queensland since 2008.

"This has achieved the ratio of one computer for every student in Years 9 to 12 in Queensland, well ahead of the 31 December 2011 deadline," he said.

The scheme itself got off to a very slow start, reaching only 38 per cent of its target at the end of December 2010. It significantly picked up its pace this year, reaching 75 per cent completion at the end of June 2011.

Queensland in particular awarded Acer with a contract to provide up to 65,000 3G-enabled notebooks only a few weeks ago.

The company is one of five on the vendor panel that serves the Queensland Government.

"We have provided laptops that are internet-accessible, giving teachers and students flexibility about how, when and where pupils learn," Dick said.

"The latest computers are also equipped with security measures, including web filtering to protect students from malicious and inappropriate internet activity, and a track-and-trace function should the machine ever be lost or stolen."