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Queensland schools’ BYOD program risks leaving poorer students behind, QTU says

The ABC’s Kathy McLeish reports (16.12.16) on growing concerns among some parents, educators and the Teachers’ Union over the increasing reliance on IT devices in the classroom.’Queensland’s education authorities are being warned that families could be forced to take on unsustainable loans to suit a program requiring students to bring their own devices, such as laptops, to class or else risk children falling behind their peers.

‘Since 2013, the Queensland Education Department has been rolling out the BYOD (bring your own device) or BYOx (bring your own “x”) programs across the state.

‘North Queensland mother of four Catherine McKenna said she would now need to buy laptops for two of her children, who are attending a school launching its own program. Ms McKenna, a former lawyer with experience in consumer law, said she had deep concerns about the financial risk for many families.

‘”I will be able to get one because I have a job. If I have to get it on credit, I will be able to read the terms of the contract,” she said. “But I’m concerned at this time of the year coming up to Christmas, parents who are at a disadvantage will feel pressured to sign up for something and take on a huge debt”.

‘The Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) wants the Government to set up a state fund to ensure no students are left behind by the new policies.

‘President Kevin Bates said many families were struggling and entire schools in low socio-economic areas were unable to take part in the program.’

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