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Extension will benefit rural schools

Extension will benefit rural schools

Associate Rural Affairs Minister Damien O'Connor has welcomed the extension of the government's Laptops for Teachers scheme.

Education Minister Trevor Mallard today announced that the scheme was being extended to all permanent, full-time primary school teachers (years 1-6) in area schools over the next three months.

The extension will benefit teachers at about 40 rural schools, in addition to the 15,000 secondary and intermediate teachers and 2,680 principals who already have laptops under the scheme.

Most of the newly eligible schools are in rural areas.

"This is fantastic news for all the teachers who now qualify, but it's particularly good news for rural schools," said Mr O'Connor.

"Laptops give users the ability to hook into a huge range of on-line services and resources more efficiently.

"I have spoken to principals from rural schools who already use laptops under the scheme, and they all say they've found it extremely beneficial."

Increasing the number of laptops in rural schools would help the rural sector keep abreast of information technology, Mr O'Connor said.

"Laptops are a basic tool in the modern world, and the more people who're familiar with them and have access to them the better. And what's good for rural schoolteachers is also good for the pupils. Information will be able to be passed on and shared.

"The scheme's extension is another example of this government's commitment to the rural sector and its advancement."

The Laptops for Teachers scheme reimburses school for two-thirds of the cost of leasing a laptop, with schools or teachers paying the remaining cost. The government has invested $10 million in the scheme so far, while $8.18 million has been invested in laptops for principals.

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