The laptops and devices being loaned to Victorian students by the state government during the COVID-19 crisis should continue to remain available after the crisis is over.
Over 50,000 laptops and tablets have been provided to students by the education department so far, allowing them to access the internet and study from home. More than 15,000 SIM cards and dongles have also been loaned out.
However, during today’s PAEC hearings the Minister confirmed that while students wouldn’t be asked to return the devices “anytime soon”, he reiterated that they were ‘on-loan’ from the department.
Victorian Greens spokesperson for education, Sam Hibbins, said the roll-out had highlighted the state’s deficiency in student access to the internet and devices at home.
He added that this access was vital for students to fully participate in and benefit from a 21st century education, and that any student without this access would automatically be at a disadvantage.
Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens spokesperson for education, Sam Hibbins MP:
“Being able to work on a device and access the internet at home is essential to learning, particularly for secondary school students.
“We cannot return to a situation where tens of thousands of disadvantaged students are without access to device or internet at home.
“The Victorian Government should permit students to keep their laptops, tablets and dongles, and review ongoing provision to students to ensure that no student is left without a computer or internet access at home.”