Thursday, 19 November 2009

Free laptops for Campo students and teachers ... but when?

The Junta de Andalucía's announced on September 28 (see EuropaSur link here) that some six thousand students of the Campo de Gibraltar would receive laptops during this school year thanks to a programme called Escuela TIC 2.0. The announcement said that programme, co-financed by the central government, would be set up more rapidly in Andalucía than elsewhere in the country. The computers would supposedly go to students of 5º and 6º primary grade and to some 230 teachers in the Campo area.>
According to the Junta's Councillor for Education, Mar Moreno, at a meeting of over 1000 head teachers at Andalucía's primary schools, the laptops would be 'owned' by the student until he or she reaches 4º grade of Secondary school, when they could be returned or bought at a "residual" price, details about which she admitted were then incomplete.

TIC stands for Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación, while the TIC programme aims at providing the latest technology to all of Andalucía's schools by 2012. Moreno reminded her audience that another programme, called Plan And@red, has supplied 1,495 TIC schools with one desktop computer for every two students. Not in Jimena that we know of.

According to the announcement made in September, the roll-out of the TIC 2.0 school programme for Andalucía included distributing laptops to 17,000 teachers in October, classes for teachers in November and digital blackboards and laptops for students in January. We are unaware if the first two items have taken place as yet, but would certainly like to hear about them.

The head of the Junta's Education Department said that the laptops, which would not be a substitute for books, weigh 1.5 kilos, have a battery that lasts four hours, a speed of 1,66 GHz and there would be Internet connections in the classrooms. This last item is certainly not present at the Sierra Aljibe school in Los Ángeles (see related item here).

In the meantime, today's news from Cádiz (Diario de Cádiz) says that the Federación de Sindicatos Independientes de la Enseñanza (FSIE) de Andalucía, an independent teachers' union federation, is complaining about a lack of planning by the Education Department regarding the TIC 2.0 programme. The newspaper contacted several primary schools in the provincial capital about their plans for the programme, but "little or no information was available as they haven't yet had any instructions from the education authorities." If they have none in Cádiz, what might be expcted in Jimena or the Campo de Gibraltar?

(Related item: Junta invests €1,129,000 in secondary schools for 2009/2010, but where?)

Editorial note: What is it about politicians of all colours and stripes, especially at municipal level in Andalucía but no doubt elsewhere as well, that they find it necessary to make loud promises at well-attended press conferences or via detailed press releases, only to fail so miserably so often to meet them? Do they really not know that unkept promises are one of the main reasons for voter apathy and turn the electorate against them?

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