Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Are Schools The Appropriate Unit for Funding In the Internet Age?

My question for the Minister for School Education at the School Funding Forum is: "Are Schools The Appropriate Unit for Funding In the Internet Age?". The Gonski Report and the government's preliminary response discuss funding to schools. But a digital education revolution is now taking place which extends education beyond the school gate. In coming years most education will not happen "at school" but on-line. This will require an investment in teacher training and course development which no individual school could afford. Will funding for this be allowed for in the programs? If not, are you happy to have most Australian education overseas providers and most education funding sent overseas to pay for this?

The Australian Government has funded computer hardware for schools and broadband connections through the National Broadband Network. However, Australian teachers are not being funded to develop Australian educational materials and trained in how to use the Internet as part of teaching. The result may be that the NBN is used to deliver educational materials from overseas developers and have the tutoring of the students outsourced to overseas providers. Those students will then look to enroll in on-line overseas universities after school, resulting in billions of dollars in lost export revenue, as well as a cultural loss.

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