BYOD scheme is unfair - parents

by Brett Henebery23 Mar 2016

Parents are calling for public schools to scrap Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, saying they discriminate against less well-off families.

While the schemes are voluntary in name, the South Australian Association of School Parent Clubs (SAASPC) says many parents are feeling pressured to buy devices they cannot afford.

The call comes after Stirling East Primary parents wrote to South Australian Education Minister, Susan Close, saying that the school was “strongly, frequently and consistently” telling parents that their children needed their own iPad and would be disadvantaged if they didn’t have one.

However, SAASPC president, Jenice Zerna, told The Educator that schools should already have adequate supplies of computers for students to use in class.

“The Association ideally would like State and Federal Governments to fully fund education so that there are no costs to families for the necessary resources needed for their children's learning,” she said.    
“We believe that the schools should provide the equipment needed. When the schools are asking their parents to supply this technology they should justify why they are needed.”

Zerna added that schools should also ensure that the whole school community is consulted on important issues that have a big impact on families.

“The Association also takes exception to throw away lines about families and their financial situations,” she said.

Stirling East principal, Stephen Measday, told The Advertiser that the school was phasing out its practice of supplying Years 5-7 students with computers because it was draining the technology budget, resulting in limited access to computers for younger students.

Measday said tablets were used “when it makes sense in class” and that parent feedback on the BYOD scheme was “really mixed”.

A spokeswoman for the Victorian Education Department said computer policies were determined by each school in consultation with their communities.


  • by Zen 23/03/2016 4:36:56 PM

    Parents feeling pressured is not a school problem. People have a variety of devices for different reasons. Personally, I use a Mac Air. My son used my former Mac Air for a couple of years. By the time we retired it was 6 years old (twice the predicted life of 3 years). When we changed, he preferred the Pro and we opted to do that by reasoning out that this will also take him through university.

    I don't know many parents who are cashed up, most of us struggle with certain areas of finance at regular points, notably when school fee's are due, insurance policies are due and so on. Pointing at BYOD is like pointing at sneakers and saying that we should standardise on training shoes because some people are posers. We have brought our children up to respect themselves and to respect others. Any form of one-up-man-ship in terms of possessions is disrespect. That is a parent driven value, not a school mandated one.

    There will always be people who are outside of the bell curve who are either very poor or very rich. For those in the former group, the school should have funding available to contribute towards the cost of the device.

  • by Paul 24/03/2016 9:53:54 AM

    Aside from the logistic aspects of whether the device should be school owned vs BYO - we need to recognise the relevance and impact personally owned devices have on learning, which have enormous potential to transform learning and teaching experiences.
    Note key findings from the University of Hull in Scotland - iPad Evaluation.
    'The adoption of a personalised device such as an iPad significantly transforms access to and use of technology inside the classroom with many attendant benefits'
    'Personal ‘ownership’ of the device is seen as the single most important factor for successful use of this technology:'

    Interesting to note of a highly disadvantaged school in Victoria (large refugee population) where parents provide their child with a BYO iPad.
    Also worth considering that cost of an iPad over a three year period, averages out to be around 50c / day.

    About time we stepped out of the 1900s model of thinking of learning and schooling.

  • by Peter Curtis 29/03/2016 11:29:18 PM

    The transformational power of devices is greatly exaggerated