NSW may sack 610 IT support staffers



blog Believe it or not, it’s a pretty hard life being an IT support officer for a school. You have demanding teachers to deal with, students who often seem intent on breaking into the IT infrastructure you’re supposed to be maintaining, and of course there’s always a problem attracting the right level of funding to do what you need. That’s why we’re not happy to hear from The Register that the NSW Department of Education and Department may be about to sack some 610 technical support officers. The publication reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“The New South Wales Department of Education and Communities has written to staff, advising them that 610 Technical Support Officers (TSOs) in the State’s schools may lose their jobs in March if the federal Digital Education Revolution program is not offered renewed funding.”

It’s hard not to be incredibly cynical about this move. This is precisely the kind of situation which many commenters warned of when Kevin Rudd’s Labor administration first kicked off the Digital Education Revolution program to put laptops in schools (heard of the term ‘Total Cost of Investment’? Yeah.). It should be obvious by now that you can’t just hand out IT infrastructure in schools and expect it to function forever; you need resources to help support and maintain it. Well, many of those resources may just be about to disappear, leaving schools to come closer to fending for themselves. Great. I’m sure that will work out just hunky dory.


  1. So most of the money for the “laptops for kids” is instead going on salaries for 610 staff to support them?

    What a waste of money. I’m sure most “issues” could be fixed by the kids or their parents, especially if they were given a “rebuild” CD with their laptop. Hardware problems could be fixed by the manufacturer.

    BAM! – $50m per year more for the laptops themselves!

    • You can’t just hand out SOE CD’s like candy. Licencing is an issue first of all, and other issues like student emails, networking, VPN, anti virus don’t just manage them selves. If you give a smart kid a Image they can tear it down and put anything they like on it, skipping any security or…. I’m going to stop here because it’s just a stupid comment.

  2. Its attitudes like that which are the problem, and typical government thinking, and is why so many government project are doomed to failure. Having 610 trained monkeys to put in the recovery disk for you make no sense.

    Please explain what you get when YOU buy a laptop from a retailer. A “recovery” disk. This is no different. Email? Like gmail or outlook? networking? VPN? all just works out of the box.

    Licensing isn’t an issue, any more than it is for OEM’s distributing a window recovery disk.

    • What your proposing is unmanaged systems. Sure you can give students laptops, tell them to make a gmail account and tell them use it how they see fit, but you have no control over those assets. You will not allow those pc’s on the network, they will not be able to print, access shared storage, local intranet or internet from the schools. You might as well give them $1400 and tell them to buy a laptop but they have to pay for their own internet, software if they need it, printers etc. Most of the kids will just install bit torrent and pirate the software they need for school. It opens up the school to security threats, licencing issues, etc. We are talking about 1000’s of users per school. Licencing of software that is used across multiple schools or the entire state. It’s not just kids using email and word, there are all kinds of applications involved in education today. Your dreaming if you think the goverment would support the idea of unmanaged laptops.

    • I am one of these “trained monkeys”.

      I was getting all worked up into a rage ready to smash out a huge post but I realised that someone as stupid as yourself wouldn’t actually grasp the complexities of a single state wide network spanning close to a million users and almost as many devices.

      The ignorance you display is astounding and not even worth the effort to respond to.

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