Why schools should stick to the new;Second-hand machines

8th January 1999 at 00:00
The DTI guide to the recycling secondhand computers has much to commend it, but its suggestion of flooding schools with industry cast-offs is flawed.

Just as the Government has confirmed its commitment of pound;1 billion to get our schools to the leading edge of technology, along comes a plan to ensure they are never up to date.

Worse still, the concept of mixing equipment will not bne welcomed by those trying to support the kit in schools. In commerce when a problem occurs with a computer or network, by and large one can do something else until it is fixed. With properly structured lessons, any increase in the likelihood of equipment failure is unacceptable. Far better to give schools the kit from new and pass their cast-offs to industry.

Dominic Savage, chief executive, British Educational Suppliers' Association

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