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News : NSW Public School Tech Support Jobs To Go
June 6, 2014 -- Hundreds of technology support officers working in New South Wales public high schools will lose their jobs at the end of next month.
The State Government will no longer fund the positions when the current contracts end on 27 June 2014.
The technology support officers were employed as part of the federally funded Digital Education Revolution launched in late 2008 by the former Labor Goverment.
The scheme, which provided laptops for years 9 to 12 students, ended in June 2013.
It is understood the contracts for support staff were due to end in December but were extended for six months.
The officers are responsible for the maintenance of laptops, making sure they work in a wireless network and ensuring that computers are up and running.
Andrew Anthony, a tech support officer at Figtree High School, says he services around 1000 computers, including laptops but his position will now be cut.
"The principal has told me they just do not have any funding available to keep me on .. it is just not possible. There is no extra funding available," he said
Mr Anthony says he is now concerned that "other staff that will have to take on some of the responsibilities."
"So by having them taken off their other teaching responsibilities that could have an impact on the students," he said.
Dapto High School principal Andrew Fitzsimons has warned that a reduction in tech support could see some schools retreating from technology and returning to "talk and chalk".
"I understand that decision but I think it is a retrograde step. Public education needs to really push technology to the forefront," he said.
Mr Fitzsimons is also worried that a lack of tech support will put students at a disadvantage.
He says over the last five years, most of his school's assessments have gone online.
"The idea that we are going to move away from that is intolerable."
Mr Anthony says there are around 400 tech support officers across the state with approximately one full time position for each high school.
Those schools will now have to pay for the positions out of their budgets.
A spokesman for the Department of Education and Communities says under a new funding model, schools have a greater say over their budget and how money is spent.
"Schools will have the option of securing the onsite technology support that best matches their requirements, including the engagement of a Technology Support Officer and partnerships between schools," he said.
Mr Fitzsimons says his school has budgeted and planned for tech support for when the positions wind up next month.
"I feel like there is no option here. We and all schools have got to find a way of maintaining tech support for good learning and teaching," he said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, June 9, 2014