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Ogilvy questions laptops for teachers


Ogilvy questions laptops for teachers

United Future education spokesperson Bernie Ogilvy is questioning the government’s new policy of providing laptops for secondary school teachers.

“I can understand the need to improve teachers’ skills in information technology, but the Ministry’s proposal to provide teachers with laptops seems to put the cart before the horse,” said Mr Ogilvy. “I have yet to see a thorough analysis of the need for laptops, yet $6.5 million in this year’s budget is committed to the scheme.”

The scheme reimburses permanent full-time secondary school teachers who lease an approved laptop for up to two-thirds of the cost. Schools or the teacher meet the balance of the cost.

According to Mr Ogilvy, ‘those teachers most in need of upskilling in computer technology are likely to pass the scheme by, given that it is voluntary and may involve a personal outlay.’

Even if schools refuse to pay for one-third of the cost of providing laptops for teachers, they are still likely to be loaded with the additional financial burden of costs relating to the integration of the laptops into the existing school network, and expenses associated with providing training.

“A proper cost-benefit analysis would have considered options such as providing a networked desktop computer for every classroom, for use by teachers and students alike. These would be cheaper, more easily secured, and more user-friendly than a laptop.”

Mr Ogilvy concluded that the Ministry’s priorities seem to be misplaced.

“Workload is the biggest issues facing teachers, and the $6.5 million for laptops could be used to employ 125 additional teachers to reduce the pressure associated with NCEA and improve teacher/staff ratios,” he concluded.


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