VLE User Logon

VLE Logon

Breaking News

Schools say fees may make them stop using the web 2/06

Our Redlaunch team ensures that our educational products and services are absolutely affordable as we are aware of other impacting cost issues on your horizon:

28 Feb - The Australian
By Simon Hayes ©

Schools have warned they will have to turn off the internet if a move by the nation’s copyright collection society forces them to pay a fee every time a teacher instructs students to browse a website.

Teachers said students in rural areas would bear the brunt of cuts if the Copyright Agency was successful in adding internet browsing charges to the $31 million in photocopying fees it rakes in from schools.

The agency calulates the total due by randomly sampling schools each year fro materials they copy, and extrapolating the results.

The battle between the schools and the agency will go to the Federal Court over its attempts to make schools pay for asking students to use the web.

Negotiations between the Ministerial Council on Education, Science and Training , representing the schools, and the agency have broken down over plans to change the scheme to include a question in the survey on whether teachers direct students to use the internet.

The Council’s national copyright director, Delia Browne said,

If it turned out we’d have to pay them, we’d turn the internet off in schools. We couldn’t afford it; it would not be sustainable. How on earth are we going to deliver education in the 21st century? How are taxpayers going to afford this?

The move has teachers up in arms, with some warning ‘ludicrous’ charges for using websites would increase the gap between haves and have-nots.

Sui-Linn White, creative and performing arts head teacher at a Sydney school said,

There’s a whole section of the NSW Art Gallery website aimed at education. Kids and particularly teachers in rural areas depend on sites like that.

The Copyright Tribunal held three days of hearings on the issue in September 2005, but it is now expected the matter will be heard in the Federal Court later this year.

Agency chief executive, Michael Fraser, said schools paid only $10 per student per year for photocopying. He commented,

For less than the cost of maintaining the grounds, emptying the garbage bins and managing the tuckshop you can access all the material you want and make photocopies. It would be tragic if schools had to shut down the internet, we don’t want that. What they pay will be for the tribunal to determine.