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Rent-seekers target school laptops in Oz election year

Getting more cash from the cow

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School, parent and teacher lobbies around Australia are gearing up to persuade the government to continue funding the laptops-in-schools program due to expire in June 2013.

As noted in the National Partnership Agreement on the Digital Education Revolution (available here), the funding formalised between the federal government and the states in 2011 was due to expire on 30 June 2013.

However, with a federal election set down for September 14, the program has regained its status as a political hot button, with principals – well, a couple of them anyhow – telling outlets such as Fairfax that the “uncertainty” is unfair to parents, teachers and students.

The principal of Northcote High told the media outlet her school is looking at leasing arrangements in the future, something which has popped up before even without the looming expiration of the funding program.

Exactly what’s uncertain about the expiration of a fixed-term funding arrangement is lost on Vulture South, as is the notion that announcing a funding deal in 2011 and having it reach the end of its term can be described as a “another example of Labor’s failure to manage money” (as a spinner for Victoria’s education minister Martin Dixon told Fairfax).

But it’s an election year, and there’s money to be sniffed. The question will be whether the Federal government is proof against the political pain it might suffer if it merely allows the program to expire as was its original intent. ®

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