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Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Page: 8629

National Secondary School Computer Fund

(Question No. 964)

Dr Jensen asked the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, in writing, on 8 May 2012:

In respect of the National Secondary School Computer Fund, to date, (a) how many laptops have been installed, (b) what proportion (as a percentage) of these are still in service, (c) how does the Government monitor the failure rate of this equipment, (d) who provides funding for the repair and maintenance of this equipment, (e) what criteria are being used to define the success (or otherwise) of this program, and (f) when will the outcome of this program be reported on.

Mr Garrett: The answers to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(a) As at 29 May 2012, a total of over 957,000 computers had been installed under the National Secondary School Computer Fund (the Computer Fund).

(b) and (c) The purchasing ,management and maintenance of ICT equipment under the Computer Fund is taking place at a state, sector or school level. Consistent with the Digital Education Revolution (DER) National Partnership and Funding Agreements, government and non government education authorities provide bi-annual reports to the Australian Government on the number of computers each school receives on a six monthly basis. The July 2012 Progress Reports are currently being received and assessed.

In addition to formal Progress Reports, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) also monitors implementation of the Computer Fund through its engagement with education authorities on an as needs basis. In the event of reports that there were, for example, instances of non-compliance with the DER National Partnership or Funding Agreements or systemic problems associated with the deployment of devices, DEEWR would seek an explanation from the education authority involved. DEEWR is aware of individual instances of equipment failure but not of any systemic problems.

Government and non-government education authorities are responsible for achieving and maintaining the one to one computer to student ratio (1:1 ratio) for all Australian schools with students in Years 9 -12. Where computers are taken out of service, for example for maintenance purposes, it is the responsibility of the relevant education authorities to ensure that students are not unduly disadvantaged and that they continue to have access at a 1:1 ratio.

(d) The Australian Government recognises that there are additional costs associated with the implementation of the Computer Fund. In that context, the Government has provided additional funding of $807 million to support the installation and maintenance of computers purchased under the Computer Fund.

(e) and f) In line with the DER Evaluation Strategy, a mid-program review is currently underway, with consultations occurring during May-July 2012. The Department expects to receive the final report by September 2012. Once the report has been finalised and its contents examined the Department will undertake to release relevant findings within three months of its completion.