Five Computers to Every Child Says Gove
Government unveils plan to guarantee five computers to every school pupil in England and Wales by 2014.
Computer provision for school children is set to improve dramatically under proposals announced by the government yesterday. The initiative, designed to address widespread concerns that UK school leavers are falling down world I.T. league tables, will see every school child in England and Wales provided with five computers each before 2014.
Whilst details of the measures are still to be finalised, sources close to Whitehall hinted that the provision is likely to include one computer with rearranged or missing keyboard letters, another that takes a whole lesson to boot-up, a laptop that won’t charge, a second laptop which isn’t configured to the school network and from which children will not be able to access the work they did last lesson, and a back-up computer without a plug in case any of the other four should become faulty and start working properly.
Michael Gove, who addressed the conference delegates for twenty minutes, went on to say that he also expected to see significant improvements in access to jammed printers and a higher level of complexity in reporting I.T. problems promising that “the days when you told someone what was wrong and they fixed it are over.” He also announced that supplies of I.T. repair tape would be delivered to every school in the country to help improve provision.
|I.T. Repair Tape promised for every school|
But Martin Holmes of The Institute for Fiscal Studies suggested that the proposed increase in the provision of computers that don’t work properly is affordable: “At this early stage we are finding that the numbers do seem to add up. The assertion that an increase in the provision of computers that don’t work is incompatible with swingeing cuts to the education budget appears to carry little weight.”
Teaching unions have broadly welcomed the proposals with NUT Secretary Christine Blower calling the measures ‘good news for pupils.’ But she did register concerns that some teachers were still unable to block-book a computer room for a whole term saying that “Indiscriminate computer room block-booking remains the privilege of a select few.” She went on to call for provisions that would allow every teacher in England and Wales to block-book a computer room for up to three years into the future adding: “Some teachers are still having to teach, even when they don’t feel like it.”
This latest initiative, designed to ensure that no child leaves school without an authentic computing experience, comes just weeks after the government revealed plans to punish schools found putting too much paper into photocopier trays.