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OAJ: 40 percent of teachers lacking computer gear

According to a new survey by the Trade Union of Education OAJ, nearly 40 percent of teachers in Helsinki primary schools don't have the computer equipment the state will soon require them to use. In some cases, teachers use their personal computers and tablets during lessons.

Henkilö käyttämässä iPadia.
File photo. Image: Mikko Kuusisalo / Yle

Close to 40 percent of teachers in Helsinki primary schools don't have the digital tools they need, despite an approaching new computer-heavy curriculum which comes into force next year.

There hasn't been much improvement since a similar OAJ survey conducted in 2010 found that about 60 percent of teachers were technologically ill-equipped.

President of the OAJ, Olli Luukkainen said there have been improvements but progress is too slow compared with the demands of the approaching new curriculum.

"Far from all of the teachers have the devices which are needed for their work. For example, 40 percent of primary school teachers don't have a tablet or a laptop – and then the primary schools, under the guidance of these teachers, [are supposed to] be prepared for the digital leap."

"In other sectors, it would be impossible for an employer to not acquire the tools that university-educated experts need in their work," Luukkainen  said.

Adequate tools needed for computer-based teaching

Johanna Perret, a music instructor at a Helsinki primary school says that teachers need access to equipment and the programmes to be able to fulfil the coming demands of computer-based teaching.

"If teachers are required to use a tablet during lessons, then all teachers should have a tablet so they can prepare themselves," Perret said.

"I've used my own personal tablet myself, and I didn't get it from the school," she said.

Perret noted that all computers, personal or otherwise need to be synchronised with the school's system and said that it would be better to have access to a school device.

The situation of digitally-equipped educators is much better for teachers in Helsinki's polytechnic institutions, where some 90 percent of teachers have school-sourced computers and tablets.

At daycare centres, however, the situation is entirely different. Only 14 percent of day care centre teachers have access to computers provided by their employers.

"Schools can't make steps in the digital world until teachers do," Luukkainen said, who added that the OAJ survey also found that it isn't merely a question of equipment. Apparently some teachers' knowledge about digital technologies don't meet up to the new curriculum demands.

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