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States speechless on digital education funding

After the Federal government was forced over the weekend to fend off claims that its digital education revolution is already coming unstuck, the offices of a number of the country's state education ministers have maintained a steady silence ahead of an intergovernmental meeting to discuss the next round of funding.
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Written by Marcus Browne on

After the Federal government was forced over the weekend to fend off claims that its digital education revolution is already coming unstuck, the offices of a number of the country's state education ministers have maintained a steady silence ahead of an intergovernmental meeting to discuss the next round of funding.

Deputy Prime Minister Gillard faced a barrage of questions last week after it was revealed the funding burden for ongoing and associated costs of its digital education revolution would fall more heavily on the states than first expected.

"We always said this will be a partnership. We are working with our state and territory colleagues, and the discussion we are having with them is about us putting an extra AU$1 billion into the vital task of getting computers in school," said Gillard Network Ten's Meet The Press program on Sunday.

According to information provided by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) to ZDNet.com.au today, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, is scheduled to meet with her state counterparts at the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs in Melbourne at the end of the month, to discuss plans for the second round of funding in the Rudd government's digital education plan.

However, the offices of a number of state education ministers have remained tight-lipped on the scheme, with a spokesperson for Victoria's Minister for Education, Bronwyn Pike, refusing to comment ahead of the meeting.

Queensland also opted to say little, with a spokesperson for the state's Education Minister, Rod Welford, telling ZDNet.com.au: "[The Queensland government] is looking at the costings at the moment and we'll continue to work with the Federal government on the program".

The office of the NSW Minister for Education had not responded to ZDNet.com.au's requests for comment at the time of publication.

Information supplied by DEEWR indicates the Federal government also intends to meet with representatives from non-government schools, as well as parents, principal and teachers associations from across Australia before opening up applications for the second round of funding to all schools, after its first round used a needs-based 'priority' system.

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