Almost 50% of education professionals believe that schools, colleges and universities are not investing enough in IT. This is causing educational institutions to suffer, with 89% stating inefficient investment in IT for education can negatively impact pupils' learning experience.
This is according to research conducted by Netgear at BETT 2010. Over a third of respondents attribute the lack of investment to the restricted budgets allocated by LEAs and the government, with 22% stating that the high cost of networking technologies is preventing educational institutions from sufficiently investing in these areas.
When budget was available, wireless (22%), storage (18%) and infrastructure (17%) were areas that saw the highest level of uptake throughout 2009. However, available funding and unaffordable technologies were not the only variables that hindered this investment: a lack of understanding of product features (18%) was voted the third most important factor.
“Organisations are starting to realise that an efficient IT network is crucial in helping students learn and enabling teachers to meet curriculum requirements,” said Mark Power, managing director, Netgear UK & Ireland. “In fact, 48% believe the right infrastructure is mission critical to achieving these goals. It is therefore essential for schools, colleges and universities to better understand the technologies available to facilitate an increased investment in IT and ensure the most productive learning environment possible.
“Remote access (17%), training (17%) and purchasing up-to-date equipment (13%) are currently seen as the top priorities for investment; however these are just pieces of a puzzle when installing a successful IT infrastructure. It is equally important to look at areas such as collaborative technologies such as video conferencing and whiteboards, compliance with Becta standards and programmes such as the Home Access Initiative.
Over half of respondents stated that, once an education establishment has implemented these technologies, insufficient resource is allocated to maintaining their networks. Schools, colleges and universities are therefore looking to identify the right solution to suit their specific needs; at the lowest possible cost. Eleven percent believe the confusing choice of networking technologies available is a key hurdle that must be overcome to achieve this.
Power continued: “The economy impacts education establishments as it would any other organisation. This is why it is essential for all available IT budgets to be spent wisely, ensuring the network infrastructure will function successfully, well into the future. To help education establishments achieve this, we are working closely with our partners to offer a free networking site survey to assess schools, colleges and universities’ individual networking needs. By also offering a 5% reduction for all education customers, we hope to help schools, colleges and universities successfully meet their networking needs while remaining within stringent budgets.”