Education Minister, Julia Gillard, announced last week that applications were open for schools to apply for the first round of funding, the first $100m of the billion dollars allocated under the Government’s Digital Education Revolution.
The program will provide computers to all students in years 9-12 over the next four years, with schools in greatest need allocated funds in the first round to June 2008.
Following an audit of high schools around Australia, 937 were identified (approximately 300,000 students) that have a ratio of 1:8 (one computer for every eight children) or worse, for students in years 9 to 12. This audit counted only computers that were less than four years old.
These schools have now been invited to apply for the first round of funding to increase the level of computers in their schools to a ratio of 1:2.
Subsequent rounds will provide funding to provide the equivalent of one computer for each child in years 9-12.
The Minister said the Federal Government was working withState and Territory governments, and with the Catholic and Independent school sectors, to ensure that the infrastructure required, such as adequate power, would be met.
As mentioned in The Medium article last week, reports from a recent Senate Estimates Committee review of the project suggested approximately 700,000 laptop computers would be needed in order for the Government to deliver on its election promises. This would result in a doubling of demand for laptops in the Australian market.