Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A MacBook For Education

Geeks and Apple lovers in Singapore went into ecstasy as a local school, Maris Stella High School, announced that it would now be compulsory for all of its 1,500 students to own an Apple MacBook for used in school assignments and projects.

A lot of Singaporeans are in favor of this move, I am not. I suspect this is an idea that’s better on paper than in real life. 2 problems spring to mind.

First, why the Apple MacBook? Wouldn’t it be easier for everyone if everyone just bring along a laptop to school instead of making parents fork out money for a MacBook? By making it compulsory for its students to have an Apple MacBook, you are making parents come out money. However if the students can just bring a laptop, they can just take their parents’ laptop. I’m sure the number of parents who own a laptop is much higher than the number of parents who own a MacBook.

The second of the problems I see are students from disadvantaged families. Maris Stella said that students who cannot afford the MacBook will be rendered financial assistance. Define what sort of financial assistance they will receive. A MacBook cost between $1,500 to $3,500, so how much of this cost would Maris Stella foot? Also what if students need to replace their MacBook? Would Maris Stella help with financial assistance then as well?

This might work in a school like Maris Stella but Singaporeans in favor of this move should be…realistic. This is NOT the way of the future because I don’t see this “project” being implemented in the whole of Singapore. Hell, I don’t see this being implemented in most of Singapore!


Zenebi said...

This is coming from a Mac user and I say it's a totally stupid idea. Hardware costs aside, families would have to fork out cash for Mac compatible software even if the parents already own the Windows version. In terms of hardware specs vs price, MacBooks are always on losing side so totally not cost effective for struggling families unless it's given to them FOC...which will happen only when pigs are on the moon.

Another question is who is going to teach the kids how to use the OSX? From a reliable source, most teachers are not even PC savvy. Can't even burn a CD properly on a PC but can guide kids in using the OSX? You might be lucky to have 1 or 2 teachers who are familiar with OSX but that would mean more work for them and teachers are already a seriously overworked bunch.

Think the people who came up with the idea just wanted to make the school look "glam" and I hope the parents will step up and shoot it down.

Ghost said...

It should be much cheaper and easier for them to bring a laptop. Still I'm surprised Zen. You are one guy I thought you would be in favour of this.

Anonymous said...

it is so sad that they are so many idiotic principals in our schools. they think that every parent drives a Mercedes in Singapore. This will add on to the already heavy financial burden that parents have to bear.