In a recent Herald article, Simon Collins the Herald’s Education Reporter writes about the growing concern among Education bosses that schools are attempting to enforce bring your own device policies on parents.
A survey conducted by Network4Learning found that 69 per cent of secondary schools and 49 per cent of primary schools had “BYO device” policies by late 2015. Schools such as Auckland’s Pakuranga College, now require all year 9 students to include a digital device in their stationery list.
Ministry of Education deputy secretary Katrina Casey said compulsory BYOD policies breach provisions in the Education Act guaranteeing a “free education” at state and partnership schools for all children from age 5 to 19.
Schools who enforce the BYOD policies claim that all students need to use the technology in the real world whether at work or at home. While devices are a crucial part of 21st century living, putting pressure on parents to buy these expensive devices can create another set of issues.
Our Take on Compulsary BYOD Policies
Parents need a voice when it comes to BYOD, especially those who can’t afford to purchase these devices. Even though school boards can’t compel families to bring their own device, the pressures on parents just hearing the words BYOD is huge.
It can be hard for students who don’t have the latest iPhone or laptop and see their classmates with these flash devices. It can make them feel inferior and left out. Schools need to work closely with parents to ensure their children are not being excluded from learning with these important technologies.
The 20/20 Trust Computers in Homes Charitable scheme mentioned in the Herald article is the perfect way to help those families who can’t afford these devices, sadly the funding ends in June. This is a real shame as schemes like this give children the ability to learn and keep up with others.
What will happen when this scheme goes? Will it force the schools to lease/purchase more devices and computers for the classroom to engage the students? The other side to this is that these schools are lower decile, therefore, money is used in other areas requiring greater funding.
Part of the solution will be helping parents understand the value of devices and how they should be seen as a major investment in their child’s education. If properly specified and taken care of these devices should last for the whole of their school life and help children become valued members of the workforce in the future.