Distance learning students get a computing boost

Distance learning students get a computing boost

An increase in IT equipment funding has been announced by the Queensland Government for geographically isolated students.

Education Minister Grace Grace announced the change to ICT Grant Program for Distance Educationwhose fee will increase from $250 per student per year to $400 per student per year, while attending the Unaccompanied Children Parents Association (ICPA) state conference in Blackall.

“I am pleased to announce that the ICT Grant for Geographically and Medically Isolated Students will increase to $400 per student per year beginning in fiscal year 2022/23,” Grace said.

“I would like to thank CAPI for its delegations on this issue.

“The Palaszczuk government recognizes the increased reliance on technology in student learning in recent years, and we recognize that this reliance has intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This grant increase will help our geographically and medically isolated students maintain and replace their computer equipment as needed.

“Almost 2,800 students accessed this grant in the 2021/22 financial year, so this increase will benefit a significant number of students and their families.

“This is a permanent increase, with any increases in CPI being added to the new base grant of $400 going forward.”

Grace said the increased grant for isolated students would go hand-in-hand with the impending increase in internet speeds in rural and remote communities.

“We recently announced a $190 million partnership with Telstra to make internet speeds up to 200 times faster in all of our schools,” she said.

“This partnership will also see Telstra invest $110 million to upgrade hundreds of exchanges across Queensland. About 350 have already been identified and more will be added as the work progresses.

“The work is already underway and hundreds of schools will benefit from it in the months to come.

“Some forty schools will be connected to fiber optics for the first time and our most isolated communities will not be left out.

“This contract allows us to utilize new technologies as they emerge, which will give us greater flexibility to improve internet speeds in our rural and remote schools.

“With these upgrades, students in even the most remote parts of Queensland will have better access to quality broadband connectivity and can take advantage of all the opportunities that come with it.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Ritthichai

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