Networking giant Cisco has won a major contract with Victoria’s Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, which will see the public sector titan standardise on Cisco equipment throughout its operations.
The department has had a long-running relationship with Cisco. For example, in 2005 it deployed Cisco wireless access points in 1,700 schools throughout the state, in one of the world’s largest Wi-Fi network rollouts.
At the time, departmental officials details how they had won an unprecedented victory with the US-headquartered networking giant — convincing Cisco to modify its hardware in the factory to make it more resistant to the pesky hacking intrusions of high school students.
The new deal will see the department buy a large amount of network infrastructure — for example, switches and management controllers — to complement its existing wireless infrastructure, which saw an upgrade last year as part of a new deal. The new rollout will affect up to 1,000 schools across the state.
“To ensure Victorian Government school students remain at the forefront of a rapidly changing digital world, the State Government is investing more than $120 million this year on information and communication technologies,” said DEECD’s deputy secretary from its Office for Resources and Infrastructure, Jeff Rosewarne, in a statement issued by Cisco.
“In the classroom this means students will have access to more computers which are linked to high-speed broadband provided through the VicSmart initiative. The Ultranet – a 21st century online learning platform that will connect students, teachers and parents in every Victorian government school is now up and running.”
The news comes as education departments around the nation are awaiting the fate of the Federal Government’s Digital Education Revolution initiative, which since early 2008 has seen laptops distributed to students around the nation.
The Coalition has pledged to replace the initiative with a fund that would allocate grants to schools instead of — as it claimed Labor’s policy was — allocating computers to schools whether they wanted them or not.