Schooling Disgrace – IT really doesn’t matter

A new survey has reportedly found that one-fifth of the computers in Irish schools are unusable and many more will soon be obsolete.

I’m quite surprised there wasn’t more of an issue about this when the news came out last week. It seems IT in schools is beyond farcical. Seaghan Moriarty has been on about this a lot. One of the sole voices out there trying to highlight this issue. More information from the report:

Most of the computers also have old operating systems such as Windows 95, 98 or 2,000, for which Microsoft no longer provides technical support.

But it’s not just support from Microsoft, it’s the fact there is no money for the upkeeping of these computers. As Seaghan pointed out in one of his blog posts:

Ireland has not given any money (apart from broadband catchup) to Primary schools for a computer refresh, hardware, software or any technical support – since 2002

The money for broadband also came from industry more than the Government. The majority of schools get their Internet access via a satellite dish. This is not broadband. It’s higher speed Internet access. 512k for a whole school is madness. 1000s of schools in the Republic get a satellite dish while every school in the North get real broadband via copper or even fibre.

The Government repeatedly bullshits about the knowledge economy and yet are cheating kids out of a digital future by passing off useless junk. As mentioned in a previous post. More Tesco computers than Dept. of Education computers in our schools. How the hell can the next Irish generation compete with all these new emerging digital nations who will be cheaper and better educated in the ICT area than them? Blinkered vision. This puff piece in the Business Post is quite insulting when you see what they’re actually doing.

The full ICTE report is here. Perhaps some blogger who reads this and has time can go through it and highlight the main findings on their blog. I’d do it but I’m not really here this week. 🙂

7 Responses to “Schooling Disgrace – IT really doesn’t matter”

  1. I remember in 98/99 when Eircom/Telecom Eireann did there big 1 computer for every school in the country thing. I remember our computer arriving at school and I was given the job of setting it up in the library and installing all the school CD-ROM’s on it, Encarta etc..

    A friend commented to me (From Dundalk boarding school) that they had no access to computers in their school at all, where they all boarded full-time, which I found very hard to believe. When I asked about the Eircom computer I got told the Principal had put it in his own office for his own personal use!

    What a scam on the students! I wonder how many of those computers got to the students.

  2. […] Since the schools in ireland have no budget for updating technology this is a great chance for businesses to donate their old hardware when they update. Just remember to wipe your computers first. […]

  3. Colm says:

    I don’t think it’s as much an issue with the computers as it is with lack of teachers who know computer basics.

  4. Branedy says:

    I’d agree with Colm, the school I helped out at only had 25 computers for a student body of 400. And the ‘Computer’ teachers with the exception of my wife, only taught ‘touch typing’ on them. One teacher was so resistant to change she wouldn’t let her students onto the internet. And she fought against buying and installing a network laser printer, because she claimed that the students would only waste ink. The career guidance councilor had a computer which she was afraid to turn on for over two years.

  5. […] Of course, people aren’t going to want to go without a hard disk, but if you’re the type of person who uses their computer for email and doing The Google, it looks good to me. If anything, it’s probably a little ahead of the broadband and web apps curves. We should get some of these into Irish schools. […]

  6. We have to be realistic here. Some schools don’t even have proper buildings. Some communities don’t have schools at all. In the medium-term, with the resources that are actually available, there is probably more benefit to be had from getting teachers on the Internet at school than there is getting the students.

  7. Evert says:

    This is nothing new.
    I remember doing big business about 5-6 years ago providing tech support services so primary & secondary schools.
    they were all given substantial budgets to purchase computer hardware but there was only token funding available for training.
    Combine this with the fact that most teaching staff are up to their eyes in work due to under-funding and you can imagine what the results were.
    IT-labs full of equipment that no-one (except for the pupils) really knew how to use…
    I have never experiences that computers were not upgraded or maintained due to lack of funds, in most cases it was due to the complete ignorance of the school staff. No-one seemed to be aware of such things as software patches, ant-virus updates etc.

    Another great example is the governments effort to provide broadband to every school. My kids school were “given” a satellite connection.
    However no-one explained to them that after the satellite installers were finished you would actually need to network the schools PC’s and route traffic out through the satellite backhaul in order to access the internet or use email. I ended up volunteering to do this myself..
    IT knowledge is at a substandard level with a most staff struggling to send an email…

    It’s time that the government threw away the policy of just throwing money at a problem and plain old posturing…