Education wants Apple on the cheap

Grace Robinson
7 September, 2011
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The Victorian state Education Department  has refused to provide teachers with up-to-date Macs because they would cost an additional $1.15 each a week to hire.

As Macworld Australia reported last week, Victorian teachers have the choice of leasing a Lenovo PC notebook, or a MacBook, which Apple killed off in July. The Lenovo costs $4 per fortnight, while the MacBook costs $11.50.

The education and teaching communities are outraged by the decision, saying they would prefer to pay extra for the MacBook Pro, instead of an outdated model, The Age reports.

By comparison, teachers in Western Australia have been able to hire MacBook Pros for some time.

Causing further controversy is the fact that teachers have no choice but to lease work computers for a cycle of four years.

Apple has weighed into the debate by offering to provide teachers with MacBook Pros for $13.80 per fortnight – $2.30 more than the current MacBook lease.

”This offer would have been at least 20 per cent more expensive for teachers than the original offer, and therefore was not considered viable for the 17 per cent of teachers who chose the MacBook over the Lenovo notebook,” an Education Department spokeswoman told The Age.

Although the MacBooks have been discontinued, they are still considered by many to be viable computers for the next four years. Macworld Australia Publisher Liana Pappas put this point of view forward when interviewed by The Age.

What do you think? If Victorian teachers are required to hire a work computer, should they be given the choice of current models? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


16 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Jimmy says:

    Im a South Aussie Chalkie and do not get any support through Catholic Ed for choosing a mac. Im luckily able to salary sacrifice for a laptop every couple of years and to this end have my current Macbook Air. I think its terrible that the education department and the non government schools depts do not work for a better deal for teachers to have apple computers (Which is ultimately to the benefit of Apple) They certainly arent number one in education here and it shows.

  2. ben says:

    i totally agree with jimmy

  3. Rod says:

    Hmmm, in the article the DEECD rep implies that teachers want to keep the notebooks for for over 3 years. Well this is because the DEECD hasn’t negotiated new leases in time? Now we have to pay more for insurance etc to cover their tardiness! Thanks for nothing!

  4. A Teacher says:

    If teachers are paying for them then they should have a choice in the model! Simple…

  5. Charmian says:

    Arent these the same teachers that Baillieu promised in the election would be the best paid teachers in Australia. Seems promises and common sense have dried up. Why would you go for old models and expect repayment over 4 years. In fact why would you expect repayment at all on the tools of trade of staff who earn over $50k a year. The cost of a MacBook is 2% of one years salary or less. Look at the productivity. The drongo polis have their heads in the sand.

  6. Eugene says:

    What other employer even expects its staff to pay for essential equipment? Students are given laptops in some instances and the government gives parents annual subsidies through tax to provide equipment for their children and yet teachers have to buy or lease their own work equipment. Every aspect of a teacher’s role now expect them to have access to a computer and because of the heavy workload they inevitably do a good part of their work at home. It is not a case of how much a teacher should pay for a computer it is more a case of which computer will the education department provide them…..

  7. Judy Watson says:

    My husband works for a government department and doesn’t have to pay for his own work computer. What gives? It’s not as though teachers are earning top dollars! They are expected to pay for their own work computer and not given the choice of the latest model! That’s adding insult to injury.

  8. Chris Curnow says:

    This is absolutely crazy. The employer requires teachers to have laptops. They should provide them. In any case, teachers should be able to lease an “approved” model from whoever they choose. I know from close experience a teacher who was told they could have a PC in about a week, or wait several months fir the “chance” of a Mac.
    Why is the Education Department writing OS dependent software in this day and age anyway?
    The whole issue seems to be incredibly poorly managed. I accepted the PC dominance in the Education Department when I was there 25 years ago. It is incredibly disturbing they haven’t moved on since then.

  9. Lucy says:

    Another SA chalkie here. while the bureaucrats in head office get laptops and ipads at government expense, those at the coalface rely on salary sacrifice to get a laptop for their teaching needs. I’m still using my old faitful 2006 macbook to deliver technology lessons to my class and after school seminars to their parents.

    I’m off to a technology in the classroom conference in Sydney next year. The Education Department will meet the conference coast but I have to fork out my own airfare and accommodation. That’s just the way it is in SA.

  10. rob says:

    Here in the west all is not that rosy. Macbooks cost $17 while pc laptops are $10. There is a restore image and some basic software (Office 2008) on top of apple apps. Finding an apple support tech at DET is very difficult. We were told we were expected to use our leased laptops to run the IWB as well.

  11. Mathsguy says:

    This issue is academic (pun cringe) – to accept the working conditions of a teacher, you have already accepted many more ridiculous terms, and sacrificed far more financially (in terms of unpaid hours, and opportunity cost) than a dodgy compulsory lease of equipment for the department’s benefit. Yes it is wrong on many levels, but there are far more important issues to worry about – drink the koolaid and let go…

  12. David Laurie says:

    A smart teacher would simply say “stuff the departments out of date software”, and then go and supply their own computers !!!

    How much better off would a teacher be, by shunning their dept’s offers, and providing their own ??

    IF you want to see the common notion that most teachers don’t know the first thing about computers anyway – just wait and see how many nongs take the cheaper PC option..

  13. Roy Clark says:

    I am typing this on a MacBook and would not consider the alternative because:

    Windows7 – A 64-bit memory extension plugin for a 32 bit graphical shell for a 16 bit patch to an 8 bit operating system originally coded for a 4 bit microprocessor, written by a 2 bit company owned by a man with not 1 bit of common sense.

  14. Roy Clark says:

    I am typing this on a MacBook; I would not consider the alternative computer because:

    Windows7 – A 64-bit memory extension plugin for a 32 bit graphical shell for a 16 bit patch to an 8 bit operating system originally coded for a 4 bit microprocessor, written by a 2 bit company owned by a man with not 1 bit of common sense.

  15. duncan says:

    As I understand things the real issue here is that VicEd **forces** teachers to take a machine under these dumb contracts. Teachers are not allowed to bring their own machine. That is the key issue here.

    How have we got to a point where the Dept forces teachers to use machines they don’t want to and then makes them pay for them?

    Dump the forced requirements and let teachers use whatever they want (that works for whatever it is they need to do) and let the teacher pay for the machine and the support they feel they need themselves.

    It would be cheaper for the Dept and cheaper for the teachers who know how to use a computer (and if a teacher can’t master basic computer tasks in 2011 it is time we asked them to explore other career options).

    The Dept then supplies help services in connecting to networks and printers and the like and the teacher buys their own service contract (Apple Care and One-to-One anyone?).

    Teachers win, taxpayers win, journalists lose a silly story line. On balance it’s an overall win.

  16. Martin C says:

    I am in Early Childcare (the Private sector) I am pleased to say the MacBook is still available through Apple Education and these are used by my team with great results. As a tax paying entity naturally we look for value for money as maybe the Victorian is thinking the same way. 3 years ago we moved from the Windows platform to the Apple platform & saved on a ton on IT support plus staff love the products Apple products.

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