One-hundred GSSC students to receive free laptops and internet in Australian first

By Madi Chwasta

One-hundred Greater Shepparton Secondary College students in years 10 and 11 will receive new laptops to keep and free internet at home until their high school graduation, in an Australian-first research partnership between Telstra and RMIT University.

The pilot program, open for expressions of interest, involves RMIT researchers making contact with the selected families two to three times throughout the project, where they will ask questions about household work and study activities, daily routines and internet use.

To be eligible, families must have a child in Year 11 enrolled at Greater Shepparton Secondary College, a Low Income Health Care Card, and an interest in helping university researchers understand the impact of internet access.

College principal Genevieve Simson said the "extremely timely" project had been in the works since last year, and she believed it would significantly support some Shepparton families.

“We have a lot of students who don't have the internet at home,” she said.

“It's going to really help, especially given current circumstances.”

Telstra regional affairs, sustainability and government relations executive Jules Scarlett said the program would give the company information about the ways internet access could improve and influence the lives of students and their families.

“We’re undertaking research to get deeper insights into how important digital inclusion is and the difference being connected can make,” she said.

Families can register their interest on the Greater Shepparton Secondary College website.