27 Feb 2012

Technology costs linked to increased school donations

6:12 am on 27 February 2012

School administrators are blaming the Ministry of Education for not increasing funding to cope with the high costs of new technology, being met by parents' donations.

Figures obtained from the Ministry of Education reveal parents gave $266.7 million to the school system in 2010 in voluntary donations and fees.

The Family First lobby group says it obtained the figures from an Official Information Act request.

Secondary School Principals Association president Patrick Walsh says schools are struggling to keep up with new technology for their students.

He says there is no point in having a rollout of ultrafast broadband and schools not being able to use its full potential within the school environment.

Mr Walsh says the ministry needs to increase funding so schools can supply pupils with technology without having to ask parents for the extra money.

Post Primary Teachers Association president Robin Duff says it's heartening to see parents' support, but it is not a good way to run the schooling system.

He says it would be better to have the money coming in directly and evenly to schools from the ministry through Government.

A Ministry of Education spokesperson says it's up to individual schools to decide which tools best support student learning and then work with parents, whanau and local communities to ensure students have access to them.

Amounts for the previous five years were:

2009: $272.18 million

2008: $247.4 million

2007: $234.8 million

2006: $202.78 million

2005: $198.96 million