and Remote Education Inquiry Briefing Paper
Information technology infrastructure
More than anybody
else isolated kids are ready - because of their independence and responsibility
- to take advantage of this technology and they can't. [Public meeting
in Bourke NSW, 1 March 1999]
The national inquiry
into rural and remote (school) education raises, among other things, the
quality of educational services including technological support services.
This paper sets out some information about the available and proposed
information technology infrastructure for your information. Our aim is
to invite your comments on the adequacy of the proposals and your recommendations
for improving provision for rural and remote schools.
This paper is a work
in progress which will be progressively developed and refined as further
information is received by the Inquiry.
In this paper
are the appropriate standards for information technology infrastructure
is the current IT infrastructure in Australian schools
and barriers in the provision of information technology infrastructure
for rural and remote students
The right of children
in rural and remote schools to have appropriate access to information
technology is covered by provisions in a number of international human
rights treaties to which Australia is a signatory. They include provisions
in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Article 28 of the
Convention sets out the core right of all children to education. Article
29 provides that the child's education shall be directed, inter alia,
to the development of the child's personality, talents and mental and
physical abilities to their fullest potential.
A number of provisions
in the Convention have particular relevance to information technology.
Article 17 provides that children have the right to information through
the mass media. Under Article 13, children have the right to freedom of
expression through any media of their choice.
domestic law, the most relevant piece of legislation is the Telecommunications
Act 1997 (Cth) which contains the Universal Service Obligation (USO).
The USO is set out in Part 7 of the Act and represents the core community
obligations of the telecommunications industry. It has important implications
for the provision of technology in rural and remote schools. It is aimed
at ensuring that all Australians, including those in rural and remote
areas, have access to a standard telephone service, payphones and prescribed
carriage services on an equitable basis, wherever they live. Telstra is
the National Universal Service Provider and has responsibility for meeting
the USO obligations.
- The number of separate communications a communication channel can handle
simultaneously. The greater the bandwidth the more messages can be handled
at the same time.
Bps Bytes per
second - the rate of transfer of data through a communications channel.
A byte is a unit of data and the more bytes per second the quicker the
mail - sending messages to a specified address or addresses over an
electronic communications network such as the Internet.
- Technology for reproducing and communicating information and for accepting
electronic instructions. With the spread of digital technology, has come
to cover not only computers and the Internet but also entertainment devices
(such as TV and video), commercial devices (such as teller machines and
Eftpos) and household appliances with in-built computerised controls (such
as microwave ovens and air-conditioners). And perhaps most importantly,
Many different computer networks around the world and the interconnections
that allow them to communicate with one another.
Local Area Network
- A network that allows communication among a specified number of computers
rather than being open to the world at large. For example, a business
may have a network that can be used only by computers within that business.
The instructions that make a computer perform tasks. Often a distinction
is made between the operating system which tells the parts of the
computer how to work together, and an application or program
(such as a word processor or spreadsheet) which the user controls to perform
World Wide Web
- One of the entities through which people send and receive information
on the Internet.
In December 1998
the federal government released its policy statement A Strategic Framework
for the Information Economy- Identifying Priorities for Action. It
reflects the Government's commitment to ensure that Australians, including
those in regional and rural areas, enjoy the social and economic benefits
offered by the growth of the information economy.
wherever they live and work, and whatever their economic circumstances
- need to be able to access the information economy at sufficient bandwidth
and affordable cost; and need to be equipped with the skills and knowledge
to harness the information economy's benefits for employment and living
Among the stated
objectives of the government in this policy statement were to ensure that
leave Australian schools with the online skills and knowledge they need
to benefit from employment and other online opportunities.
The Government clearly
recognised the importance of technology infrastructure in the delivery
of education for rural and remote Australians.
in themselves, will be an important tool in the cost effective provision
of education and training. They offer the potential to transform the ways
in which teaching and learning occur. For rural and remote Australia,
online technologies offer a unique opportunity to address educational
disadvantage stemming from the tyranny of distance. Not only do they facilitate
communication between the student and the learning institution; they also
enhance interaction between the students themselves, allowing them to
share their ideas and work on group projects.
For schools, the
challenge is to provide all young Australians with the general information
technology skills and learning resources that will equip them to take
advantage of future student training opportunities. We need to ensure
an information-rich - information-poor' divide between schools does
not develop. Teachers, especially those in rural and remote areas, will
need access to professional development and training so that they can
coach students in the online environment and use information technology
as a teaching tool. High quality, locally produced, online content that
is relevant to Australia's education system is essential.
The government has
committed itself to working with the States and Territories and also the
private sector to meet these challenges.
The Australian Computer
Society has set out a framework for the development of information technology
in schools. This framework provides some useful guidance in defining appropriate
standards of information technology in schools. The framework covers a
number of specific areas and sets out 4 stages of development for each
area, the 4th stage being the optimum.
Stage 4: All students and staff have access to computing services which
suit their needs.
IT in the curriculum
Stage 4: The school curriculum is widened through the use of Information
Technology and delivery becomes more student centred.
Stage 4: School networking uses wireless connections for workstations.
Connections from outside the school are available.
Stage 4: The school network is connected to the Internet for full service
(E-mail, telnet, world-wide web etc.)
Stage 4: Software is made available to any workstation from school, local
and global repositories.
Stage 4: Software is collated against curriculum on a whole school basis.
Stage 4: The school IT plan is informed by and fits into a systematic
plan, which incorporates a sensitivity for the social impact of technology.
Some further guidance
on the appropriate standards for technology infrastructure in schools
is provided by the Education Network Australia (EdNA) Reference Committee
in Towards An Australian Strategy for the Information Economy: A Position
Paper. The Committee said that for schools, there needs to be a commitment
by all Australian governments to
- ensure that by
the year 2001 all Australian schools will
- have sufficient
multimedia capable computers, peripheral equipment (such as printers,
scanners) and local network arrangements to allow whole classes to
participate collectively in online learning activities;
- have access
to communications facilities which will permit whole classes to connect
to the Internet and participate in learning activities; and
- have access
to transactional facilities
- remove price based
impediments to schools outside metropolitan areas accessing the Internet.
plays a role in the provision of technology infrastructure for schools.
The Commonwealth Government's Investing for Growth program allocates
funds for high quality surplus Commonwealth IT equipment to schools, including
those in rural and remote areas.
"Networking the Nation"
is another relevant Commonwealth program although it applies more broadly
than just education. This program involves funding of $250m over 5 years
from 1 July 1997. The program funds initiatives to address telecommunications
needs in regional, rural and remote Australia. The aim of Networking the
Nation is to support the economic and social development of regional,
rural and remote Australia by funding projects which
- enhance telecommunications
infrastructure and services in regional, rural and remote areas;
- increase access
to, and promote use of, services available through telecommunications
networks in regional, rural and remote areas; or
- reduce disparities
in access to such services and facilities between Australians in regional,
rural and remote areas and those in urban areas.
Telstra, which is
partly owned by the federal Government, also provides technology infrastructure
for education including rural schools. This is part of Telstra's overall
strategy of expanding its services to rural Australia. In May 1998 Telstra
released a statement titled Telstra puts the Outback in Front.
today unveiled its multi-million dollar satellite strategy which will
extend the availability of telephony, data and Internet to potentially
all country customers before the end of 1998 - affirming its commitment
to rural Australia.
multi-million dollar investment is about 'putting the outback in front',
boosting access to information, electronic commerce and key services
like health and education.
. Telstra anticipates
investing around $1 billion in country Australia in the current year
. country customers can look forward to enjoying communications comparable
with those enjoyed in major cities.
This strategy includes
a program to help rural and remote customers access the Internet more
cheaply. This program involves the installation of "Points of Presence"
(POPs) in rural areas. There are approximately 100 POPs across Australia.
Customers within the local call zone of the POP are able to connect with
Telstra Big Pond (and hence the Internet) at the cost of a local call.
Telstra has developed
a number of initiatives relevant to school education, some with a general
focus and others with a specific rural focus. Telstra Rural and Remote
Fact Sheet Educating Rural and Remote Australians (25/5/98) noted
that Telstra has in excess of 50 projects around Australia aimed at developing
the "virtual classroom". These projects involve approximately 12,000 educational
facilities at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Many of these projects
directly benefit rural and remote students.
Some specific initiatives
Learn-IT is a division of Telstra established for the purpose of supporting
the education sector. It currently involves partnerships with 15 peak
education bodies and this is likely to increase. Examples of partnerships
that benefit rural and remote students include the Aboriginal Video Distance
Education Program project at Kowanyama, a small settlement half-way up
Cape York in Far North Queensland. It enables children to use the Internet
and Conferlink Videoconferencing for education purposes.
Telstra supports schools to run Internet training sessions out of normal
hours for their school communities, local businesses and the general public.
Over 5,200 educators from both rural and metropolitan areas have taken
part in Telstra's education seminars. The seminars emphasise the benefits
of technology for schools and demonstrate how it can best be utilised.
Reduced line rentals
In 1997 Telstra reduced line rentals for 12,000 education clients from
$30 per month per line to $11.65 per month per line. This has resulted
in savings of millions of dollars each year for schools.
Rural and remote students are able to display their multi-media skills
through five education award programs run by Telstra throughout Australia
- Early Childhood
Award - for the tertiary student who completes the best multi-media
- Australian Export
- Schools website
- Education Foundation
Best Government School Project.
Telstra has developed a range of books, posters and other printed material
on telecommunications and the information superhighway. The material can
be obtained by calling Telstra FREECALL on 1800-633-033.
and Territory programs
All States and Territories
have established long term plans for the development of information and
communications technology in schools. They include goals for achieving
a required ratio of "computers" per student or school within a set period
and providing access to the Internet for all schools. However, there are
significant differences among States and Territories in their strategies,
including the level of resources applied to them. They range from relatively
minimal plans that provide basic ISDN quality connections to more substantial
plans including quite comprehensive professional development programs
for teachers. Some recent and current initiatives are outlined below.
This information will be updated in consultation with State and Territory
The NSW Government's
"Computers in Schools" program includes
- connection of
all NSW schools to the Internet in 1996
- enhancing Internet
services to schools through SchoolsNET which will connect all NSW Government
schools to the Department of Education and Training's Wide Area Network
- a professional
development program for teachers called Technology in Learning and
Teaching (TILT) established with a goal of 15,000 teachers completing
it by June 1999
- provision of 80,000
computers across all NSW schools and the achievement of a better than
1:11 computer:student ratio
- funding to facilitate
the use of this technology in schools through networking and technical
- 40 Technology
Advisers based in different districts to support school technology planning
- curriculum documents
for both primary and secondary schools supporting the integration of
IT in school curriculum
- support material
to assist schools with
- use of the
of a school Internet Access Policy
- school publishing
on the Internet
- use of the
- resource material
for teachers and students on the Department of Education's schools world
wide web site "Network for Education"
- a plan to achieve
a 1:5 computer to student ratio by June 2000 involving the provision
of 61, 500 new computers over 3 years
- $28.4 m over 4
years in subsidies for multi-media computers for students
- $6.6 m over 2
years in subsidies to enhance teacher access to technology
- notebook computers
for approximately 36,700 principals and teachers over 5 years
- over 2,000 surplus
computers per annum for schools
- a state wide area
network including a broadband core with a minimum 64Kbps link to each
school to facilitate the development of
- Edumail, the
electronic mail system available to 45,000 staff in schools and
in the Education Department
the electronic library of the Education Department's policies and
- Edumail, the
- a learning technologies
planning and implementation guide for schools
- policies to integrate
learning technology into all areas of school curriculum
- Victorian Education
Channel, a comprehensive online package of educational resources for
students and the community
- SOFWeb, the website
for schools, containing information on the use of technology in education
- EduNet Internet
Services, an Internet service for schools and TAFEs containing thousands
of catalogued web sites with appropriate safeguards especially for primary
- Victorian Student
Achievement Monitor, an interactive secondary school assessment program>
- $56m allocated
to professional development for teachers in the use of information technology
- Statewide Licence
Agreements under which Microsoft and several other major IT corporations
provide a wide range of software free to schools.
by Education Queensland include
- Schooling 2001,
a comprehensive 3 year (1997-2000) $83m program for the use of information
technology in schools
- Connect-Ed, a
$53m program to connect all schools to a wide area network by ISDN or
- the School LANS
project, a $40m program to provide every school with a basic LAN by
- the Schooling
2001 project allocated $30m in 1998-99 for
- a target computer:student
ratio of 1:7.5 by 2001
- the "Connecting
Teachers to the Future" program to provide teachers with laptops, Internet
accounts and a two week vacation school
- all minimum skill
requirements for all teachers by 2001 supported by funding for staff
- a requirement
for all schools to have 3-5 year plans for the management of learning
- quality curriculum
software and online resources.
The South Australian
Government allocated $85.6m over 5 years (1997-2001) for expanding the
use of technology in schools. Key goals under the Government's DECStech
2001 Project include
- a computer : student
ratio of 1:5 by 2001
- Local Area Networks
for all schools, units and administration sites
- broadband telecommunications
services for all schools
- a wide area network
that will connect all schools, units and administration sites with the
Department of Education, Training and Employment
- professional development
and training for all staff
- funding of curriculum
projects to develop teaching and learning methodologies based on new
- technical support
programs provided through District Offices and a central Customer Centre
- a subsidised computer
support scheme for schools
- arrangements for
schools to acquire curriculum and anti-virus software at discounted
- cash grants to
schools for the purchase of computer furniture, software and associated
The Education Department
of Western Australia has a Technology 2000 strategy encompassing various
programs to enhance learning through the use of technology. It includes
- EdNet, a program
to connect all schools in the State to the Department's network ($13.2m
- A computers for
students program supported by cash grants to schools so that by 2002
they will have a minimum ratio of 1:5 for secondary students and 1:10
for primary students ($112.96m in 1996/97-98/99)
- satellite receivers
for all country schools ($0.65m in 1996/97-1998/99)
- funding for all
schools to establish an Internet connection and access appropriate support
for the use of the Internet in curricula ($7.5m in 1996/97-1998/99)
- cash grants to
schools for library automation ($1.65m in 1997/98-2000/01)
- a requirement
for all schools to develop a learning technologies plan before they
can receive cash grants for computers
- a range of school
support strategies provided through Central and district office service
The current Tasmanian
Government, elected in 1998, indicating that it would develop a comprehensive
strategy for IT in schools.
This paper will be
updated with further information about the Tasmanian strategy.
Following a major
review of IT in Northern Territory schools, $0.75m was provided for the
development of the Education 2000 Strategy. The Strategy has been completed
and submitted to the Government for endorsement.
This paper will be
updated with further information about the Northern Territroy strategy.
during the 1997-2000 period include
- the establishment
of a secure communications network between schools and onto the Internet
- cash grants for
schools to develop IT facilities and support
- arrangements with
IT corporations to provide hardware and software to schools
- provision of pentiums
to all permanent teachers
- a professional
development program for teachers based on localised coaching and training
- school-based action
plans on information technology in learning and teaching
- funding for the
integration of IT in curriculum design.
schools play a vital role in the delivery of education for rural and remote
students. They are increasingly making use of information technology and
telecommunications in the delivery of their programs. Distance education
is provided mainly through State and Territory education departments.
The Tasmanian Open Learning Service delivers education through diverse
means utilising print based items, videos, audio tapes, computer disks,
E-mail and Internet. It also has programs to provide professional development
for teachers in the use of information technology and to facilitate the
implementation of technology infrastructure in schools. In 1997-98 $2.75m
was allocated to distance education in Tasmania.
Distance education initiatives operated by the Northern Territory Government
include Schools of the Air ($2.848m in 1998-99), Northern Territory Open
Education Centre ($3.057m), Open Learning Support ($0.641m) and Open Access
The Distance Education Centre is the main provider of distance education
for Victorian students. The Centre delivers courses aimed at effectively
meeting the educational needs of students whose circumstances prevent
them from attending regular schools. Its courses include print based,
audio and visual learning material as well as Internet facilities.
New South Wales
The New South Wales Government's 1998-99 budget allocation for rural education
included funding for Distance Education Centre support through eight secondary
and eleven primary centres.
Western Australia's School of Isolated and Distance Education (SIDE) is
based in Perth and includes five Schools of the Air. SIDE services students
from pre-primary level to Year 12. It uses a wide range of communication
systems including telephones, electronic mail, interactive multimedia
and live television programs delivered via satellite technology.
The Open Access College of South Australia includes the School of the
Air located in Port Augusta. The core technologies it uses are print,
video, audio, telephone conferencing and HF radio. In recent times increasing
use has been made of desktop videoconferencing, Internet services and
a range of other new multimedia products in the provision of distance
education in South Australia.
Distance Education in Queensland is provided by the Government's Open
Access Unit. Its programs include telecourses and teleconferences delivered
through the Government's satellite network. In 1998-99 $27.492m was allocated
to distance education in Queensland.
The Australian Capital
Territory does not provide distance education.
are also significant in the provision of technology infrastructure for
rural and remote students and their families. Within the public library
system there are a number of programs aimed at extending online library
services to rural and remote areas. An example is NSW.Net, a project managed
by the State Library of NSW, to connect NSW local councils in a network
of high bandwidth connections to the Internet. It involves a set per annum
cost for participating councils, thus ensuring that rural and remote communities
are not disadvantaged. So far more than 60 councils have accepted the
offer to connect to NSW.Net. A key objective of the program is to reduce
the inequalities between rural and metropolitan NSW. The program is funded
primarily through the NSW Government's allocation for public libraries,
supplemented by a federal government grant through the Online Public Access
Initiative. Similar programs have been developed in other States and Territories.
and private sector programs
has also benefited from various community and private sector initiatives,
some of them developed in collaboration with government. Some examples:
Isolated Students' Education (VISE)
The VISE scheme has been operating for about 9 years. It involves sending
volunteers to spend 6 weeks with families, working as home tutors for
students and advisers to the parents. VISE is co-ordinating an "Internet
to the Outback" project, funded by the federal Government's "Networking
the Nation" program. Under the "Internet to the Outback" project, VISE
volunteers show families how to get the most from Internet technology
in partnership with the School of Distance Education in their area. The
University of Ballarat provides the volunteers with training on the use
of the Internet in distance education.
Until recently the development of Internet cafes was confined to cities.
In January 1998 the world's first Outback Internet Cafe was opened at
Blackall in Western Queensland. The cafe is situated in the foyer of the
Blackall cinema. The cafe has been used by all age groups. Local schools
have made regular bookings to use it. It has enabled teachers for the
first time to set projects requiring Internet research. In its first 3
months it received approximately 3,000 user visits, in a community of
1,700 people. The establishment of the cafe involved co-operation between
the local community and the Queensland Government (through the Department
of Public Works and Housing, the Premier's Department, Office of Rural
Communities and the Information Industries Branch, Department of Tourism,
Small Business and Industry) and the private sector.
and barriers in the provision of information technology infrastructure
for rural and remote students
Despite the positive
programs described above, access to appropriate technology infrastructure
remains problematic for many rural and remote students in Australia. This
was highlighted by the EdNA Reference Committee in Towards An Australian
Strategy for the Information Economy: A Position Paper.
of telecommunications infrastructure in Australia is a particular problem
in regional and remote areas . The costs of providing and updating infrastructure
and the associated operating costs are extremely high, particularly in
rural and remote areas. The lack of Internet service providers (ISPs)
within local areas of rural and remote parts of Australia make Internet
access extremely costly in comparison to regions with local access to
Schools in rural
and remote areas tend not to have access to adequate communications
facilities. The prices which such schools must pay for telecommunications
services and Internet access are significantly higher than in metropolitan
areas. The more information technology becomes a central part of the
delivery of education and training in Australia, the more equity of
access will become a central issue for the sector.
The findings of the
EdNA Reference Committee have been echoed in the information and evidence
received by the Inquiry. In Bourke NSW the Inquiry was told
If I can
speak on behalf of distance education in this respect for a moment, the
access to technology in terms of Internet and the use of Telstra lines
for kids that are beyond Bourke is almost non-existent. There is a satellite
trial being conducted from Broken Hill next term, which will give a very
limited ability for kids to be in constant contact with their teachers.
Nevertheless, until Telstra extends the ISDN lines beyond Tottenham and
Bourke the kids that are on distance education will always be at a technological
disadvantage. They have the computers, they have the hardware, they have
the software, and they have the teachers. We have the infrastructure at
school but we do not have the telephone lines to support it. And that
is an enormous disadvantage to the distance education kids.
It is frustrating
that the education infrastructure is there but the technology infrastructure
isn't. If you are on a radiophone - they have trialed this in South
Australia - they can run on 320 bytes per minute. It would take you
about three days to download a sentence. [Public meeting, Bourke
NSW, 1 March 1999]
is more than just software, hardware and telephone lines. It also requires
people with the skills and expertise to support and maintain these systems.
A number of submissions spoke about the lack of access to technological
support for rural and remote schools. A primary school teacher from Broome
WA told the Inquiry
is a focus for our school but we are extremely disadvantaged. Even though
we receive adequate funding there just does not exist the support service
needed. An example, we are setting up a school computer network so that
we might be able to provide Internet facilities into classrooms. Existing
staff members have limited expertise. Contractors/computer providers can
install the system but to maintain the system we will be floundering.
We learn as we go. Metropolitan schools have a number of support people
they can use (Ed dept and private companies), all of whom are keen to
offer competitive quotes for such service. [Submission No. 22]
In a submission to
the Inquiry, a secondary school teacher from Dubbo NSW described the sense
of frustration arising from inability to deal promptly with equipment
is more frustrating than having equipment breakdown etc and not being
able to get it fixed in an acceptable amount of time or without exorbitant
cost. The access programme relies on technology, however, the company
from Sydney that installed it has no agent in our area. Consequently when
you phone them they give you instructions over the phone and if not successful,
we send it to Sydney. Unfortunately when it comes back with a clean bill
of health the problems may reoccur. New technology does not always behave
when introduced to an older Telstra network.
We are as I write
this having such a problem with our conferencing equipment. It has been
3 weeks and the problem is yet to be solved. I have frustrated staff
and students because communication with the other schools is between
unreliable and non-existent depending on the day.
The down time
for student learning because of technical breakdown is significant.
The time wasted by teaching staff trying to fix problems over the phone
etc can also be significant. [Submission No. 11]
were expressed at public meetings.
We . have
had some reliability problems with software and things like that. It is
getting better but it takes an inordinate amount of time to rectify. We
have had to build in an allowance of non-teaching [for one staff member]
for him to maintain the system. [Bourke NSW, 1 March 1999]
Every time there
is a power surge our main file server in the library goes down. In the
last week there was one day where we had four. In some cases it means
a complete recovery of the system. This is a big problem. [Brewarrina
NSW, 2 March 1999]
These problems do
not relate only to the infrastructure located within schools. They also
affect students engaged in distance education who need access to appropriate
technology in their homes. For these students and their families, costs
can be extremely prohibitive. The Open Access College in South Australia
told the Inquiry
enrolled in distance education need access to one workstation per family
with a modem and printer and individual software licences. This is much
more expensive to set up than the concept of a computer room or individual
computers on a Local Area Network (LAN) in a school environment. The Federal
Government needs to consider some sort of subsidy scheme or grant to provide
access to this technology for remote and isolated families, similar to
the Homestead Video Scheme of the 1970s when these families had no access
to television. [Submission No. 23]
Similarly, lack of
access to public libraries or inadequate facilities within libraries adversely
affect rural students and their communities.
and rural library users remain deprived of the range of library access
points, resources, staffing, services, technology and Internet connectivity
common in urban areas. The three most critical deficiencies are lack of
access points, far too few professional and paraprofessional staff, and
slow progress in Internet provision and training for the community. In
particular, there has been a failure in most parts of rural Australia
to examine the merits of school housed public libraries for smaller communities.
[Presentation by Peter Munn & Anna Handley from the University of South
Australia Library, at 'Healthy Communities for the Bush', 3rd National
Conference for Regional Australia, Broken Hill November 1998.]
The inquiry has also
heard some positive stories about technological infrastructure in particular
schools and communities. At one meeting with a group of secondary students
several of them spoke about the abundance of computers as a result of
recent purchases by the school. They also indicated that Internet access
was generally very reliable. [Meeting with secondary students in Bourke
NSW, 1 March 1999]
It is also clear
to the Inquiry that some very positive advances have been made in particular
areas, despite resource limitations and other barriers, mostly due to
the vision and commitment of the individuals and organisations involved.
At the moment
in South Australia the infrastructure for technology in rural and remote
areas is very poor. The college has successfully trialed the use of the
Internet for conferencing with distance education students. Parents and
teachers have indicated that using technology has motivated students,
has improved the interaction between the teacher and the student and has
reduced the isolation as students can communicate through e-mail. [Submission
to the Inquiry suggested strategies for addressing the inadequacy of technology
infrastructure for rural and remote students. Grahame and Linda Code from
Aberfeldy in Victoria told the Inquiry
and financial assistance should be given to enable modern communication
equipment, including computers, fax and dedicated telephone lines for
this to be available for children in rural and remote areas. Ongoing financial
help also should be considered, to keep the equipment up to date with
modern technology. [Submission No.2]
The Executive Officer
of St Patrick's School in Camperdown Victoria proposed a number of solutions
for enhancing technological support for rural and remote students.
for the free use of telecommunications for schools, decentralise specialist
teachers and advisers, prioritise schools according to their remoteness
so that they can have first access to on-line programs, fund cabling,
technological upgrades and computer laboratories for all schools. [Submission
updated 2 December 2001.