Non-uniform tech code could cause imbalance
The Federal Government is putting the final touches on its ‘Bring-Your-Own-Device’ plan for schools, but already principals say it will only breed schoolyard inequity.
With Federal Government’s laptop roll-outs now rolled-up, the Department of Education says it is nearly done preparing the BYOD policy, set to provide guidelines for schools that want students to use their own smart phones and tablets in the classroom.
NSW Secondary Principals Council president Lila Mularczyk says the policy is in line with technological trends; “Laptops are not necessarily the answer any longer. Students are far more familiar with mobile devices... I do think we've moved on from laptops.”
But Ms Mularczyk said there were concerns the policy would significantly disadvantage students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, who may not be able to afford the same devices. Western Sydney Parents and Citizens Council Chairwoman Janice Frape agrees, saying: “The students need to have equitable access to technology used in classrooms. The impost on families to buy smart phones certainly places an unfair disadvantage against those who can't afford it... parents can't continue to meet the bill... the government needs to continue to find some way to provide the provisions needed by students and not expect parents to pick up the tab.”
A Department of Education and Communities spokesman said it would be up to schools to develop a policy which is; “consistent with current practice, school principals will work with their community to determine the needs of their students and ensure access to appropriate technologies to support their learning.”