Beverley McArthur MP
Member for Western Victoria Region
Geelong Secondary School Students Disadvantaged
Member for Western Victoria Region, Bev McArthur used a Constituency Question and Adjournment Debate in Parliament today to call on the Minister for Education to end the disadvantage endured by public secondary school students in the G21 Geelong Region which comprises the municipalities of Colac Otway, Golden Plains, Greater Geelong, Queenscliff and the Surf Coast.
The Andrews Government claims that Victoria is “The Education State”. This is impossible when internet speeds are totally inadequate in secondary schools. It is unacceptable that students can often only access the internet one class at a time.
The Education Department promised to double current school internet speeds to 100mb per second. 100mb per second does not enable students and teachers to:
· Use information sites, e-books or education platforms
· Stream online educational classes and events
· Participate in high-definition video conferencing
· Share resources between schools, or
· Deliver the curriculum electronically.
However, The Geelong Secondary Schools and Community Digital Learning Hub (GSSaCDLH) provided the government with a ready-made solution to this serious educational issue at a cost of $4.5m which the government so far, has clearly rejected.
The solution as proposed by GSSaCDLH would be delivered through AARNet; a not-for-profit research and education network jointly owned by the CSIRO and Australian Universities, including Deakin.
While the NBN download speeds range from 12mb to 100mb per second, AARNet download speeds range from 1Gb to 100 Gb per second. With the extensive fibre optic cable network of AARNet, multiple classes can simultaneously access the internet without performance issues.
Ironically, while Geelong Tech has full access to AARnet, most public school students attending course units at the Tech must return to their own schools’ inferior classroom internet which obviously restricts their learning capacity.
Bev McArthur thanked Professor Jane den Hollander, Vice Chancellor of Deakin University, and Elaine Carbines, CEO of G21, for their briefing on the issue and for their time and passionate interest in providing better educational outcomes for secondary students.
5 March 2019