Government funds 141,000 more school laptops

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Government funds 141,000 more school laptops

Speaking from Caboolture State High School in Queensland, the Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, said the second round funding would put more than 141,000 computers into the hands of Year nine to 12 students.

"Every secondary school in the country has had the ability to apply for assistance to bring them to a student to computer ratio of one-to-two for students," Gillard said.

"The Government's digital education revolution will take the ratio to one-to-one and we will achieve that in 2011."

Gillard said that changes in round two funding included more than $300,000 given to 26 schools to buy learning tools for students with disabilities.

And she said the Government had resolved the issue of laptop costs, including software licensing, maintenance and support staff training.

State Government estimates of these costs ranged from several hundred to thousands of dollars a computer.

It led to a determination by the Federal Government estimating the total cost per laptop to be up to $2,500 over four years, and a series of proposals to reduce upfront costs, including the use of <a href=",open-source-usb-key-to-2bn-school-laptop-plan.aspx/1" target="_blank"> open source USB sticks </a> and <a href=",open-source-usb-key-to-2bn-school-laptop-plan.aspx/2" target="_blank"> cloud-based infrastructure</a>.

"We have resolved those issues through an agreement to make available $807 million to support on-costs," Gillard said.

"That money will be available to schools and school systems by the end of June this year."

She said the timetable for rollout for the new computers "is a matter for individual schools and school systems".

The Government will invest about $2 billion over six years as part of the program.

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