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IT hardware funding increase for geographically isolated Queensland students

Geographically isolated children who learn by distance education at a state school will have their out-of-pocket IT hardware costs subsidised by an extra $150 every year from July 1 2022.

The Distance Education ICT Subsidy Scheme, which has been set at $250 per student per year, will increase to $400.

Around 2,800 students accessed the subsidy during the 2021/2022 financial year.

The subsidy was established to allow geographically and medically isolated students enrolled in a State School of Distance Education to maintain and/or replace their IT hardware as required.

Lobbying for rural and remote families

Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace announced the funding boost on June 8 at the 2022 state conference of the Isolated Children’s Parents Association (ICPA) Qld, held in Blackall.

Ms Grace (pictured below) said the funding boost was an acknowledgement of the increased reliance on technology in students’ learning in recent years, “and we acknowledge this reliance intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic”.

“This increase in the subsidy will support our geographically and medically isolated students to maintain and replace their IT hardware as needed.

“Nearly 2,800 students accessed this subsidy during the 2021/22 financial year, so this increase will benefit a significant number of students and their families.

“This is a permanent increase, with any CPI increases added to the new $400 baseline subsidy moving forwards.”

Bush internet speeds also set to improve

Ms Grace said the increased subsidy for isolated students would go hand-in-hand with the imminent increase in internet speeds in rural and remote communities.

“We recently announced a $190 million partnership with Telstra to make internet speeds up to 200 times faster in all our schools,” Ms Grace said.

“This partnership will also see Telstra invest $110 million to upgrade hundreds of exchanges across Queensland. Around 350 have already been identified and there will be more added as the work progresses.”

Read more about the 2022 ICPA Queensland conference.

Read the Ministerial media release here.