Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Labor News

Labor allocates $20m to fast track rollout of SOE4 in regional WA

Labor Statement February 21

A McGowan Government will allocate $20million over four years to fast track the roll-out of an award-winning, state-of-the-art wireless network operating system for more than 200 regional primary schools, Shadow Minister for Education Paul Papalia said today.

Mr Papalia said the Standard Operating Environment 4 (SOE4) operating system allowed schools to make use of any wireless devices, tablets, laptops or PCs, within their school.

"The system simplifies the hardware needed in schools and will enhance teachers' delivery of e-learning for pupils," Mr Papalia said.

"The SOE4 is run on a wireless network and the Department of Education estimates that it cuts ICT running costs in each school by 66 per cent through reductions in infrastructure replacement and support services.

"The operating system is being slowly rolled out to high schools via a Commonwealth grant, which is restricted to high schools.

"WA Labor's plan will allow the system to begin being installed in regional primary schools, which face the greatest challenges in access to IT support.

"This will help schools in implementing the national curriculum and to deliver significant e-learning programs."

Mr Papalia said a McGowan Government would encourage e-learning initiatives with ICT such as:

  • The Chief Scientist or another prominent scientist could teach a guest class for regional students via Skype;
  • Strengthen the connections between regional students and city-based institutions, like Scitech and the Art Gallery of WA;
  • Helping country kids in hospital in Perth to stay in touch with their classrooms in regional areas; and
  • Using ICT to encourage more online collaboration between small isolated regional schools.

"The polices WA Labor has announced to date have put back into the public education system an additional $197million above and beyond the Barnett Government's budget," he said.

WA Labor candidate for the Pilbara Kelly Howlett welcomed the announcement.

"The Education and Health Standing Committee September 2012 report, The role of ICT in Western Australian Education: Living and Working in a Digital World, identified the most important information and communications technology issue affecting schools was the rollout of the SOE4," Ms Howlett said.

"The report found that regional students have the most benefit to gain from e-learning.

"The new SOE4 system means reduced number of servers in schools, reduced need for extensive cabling, reduced support costs, and improved security among its many advantages."

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