Laptop deal spells manipulation

18th February 2000 at 00:00
I WAS the lucky recipient of a lap-top computer through the British Education Communications and Technology Agency scheme.

It has really been fundamental to my interest in information and communication technology. The machine belongs to the school and so is useful to everyone. It came free with appropriate basic training and has been a real aid to my professional development. Many thanks to the Government.

I am wondering, however, whether I shall receive a thank you letter from the Government if I am rash enough to buy a computer under the Computers for Teachers scheme.

It seems that I shall donate about pound;400 to the Government in income tax and VAT so I am also wondering why the scheme was not publicised as "Teachers given pound;100 towards a compter".

I also find I can buy an identical machine from a computer magazine for pound;280 less, but apparently the price excludes installation costs. However, as a representative of one firm says, "attaching the red lead to the red hole and the orange one to the orange, is not exactly difficult but the Government insisted".

This is coupled with the fact that firms are charging pound;30 extra for delivery and installation when a full-time teacher can be at home, ie at weekends. That means that my pound;500 is now reduced to pound;70! Oh, and of course we must do 40 hours of training for these privileges - in our "spare time" for no pay. Clever scheme! The phrase "cynical manipulation of teachers" springs to mind - I wonder why?

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