September 11, 2012 4:27 am
Updated: March 23, 2013 9:18 am

Schools need more funding for computers, technology, Canadians say

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

TORONTO – Canadians say provinces need to pour more funding into schools and invest in new technology to help kids learn, according to results of a new poll.

Seventy per cent of Canadians say there isn’t enough money being spent on public education in elementary schools, an Ipsos Reid poll conducted exclusively for Global News shows.

About 86 per cent of Canadians even suggest that schools need to buy better and new technology to help teach kids, with only 14 per cent disagreeing with this kind of investment.

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“What parents want to do is make sure the skills of their children keep up with the changes in technology,” John Wright, Ipsos Reid vice-president, told Global News.

Expenses in keeping up with technology

With an onslaught of new gadgets steadily rolling out from technology giants, Wright notes that schools investing in the latest in computers or electronic textbooks could be costly.

“The range of technology in terms of how it changes so rapidly is remarkable. You can have something at the beginning of the year that is state-of-the-art and at the end of the year, you could have gone through two or three upgrades of it.”

That’s why he suggests Canadians should empathize with those arranging budgets.

“To try to think that the school system itself is going to invest in the kinds of technology that individual families have access to . . . seems a bit redundant,” he said, noting that most households have as many computers as people under the roof.

Results from coast to coast

The sentiment that schools need more high-tech learning supplies is strongest in Atlantic Canada, where 76 per cent of residents said what’s already in the classroom is lacklustre.

That’s followed by British Columbia (75) and Quebec (73).

Some provinces were more satisfied with their schools’ tech offerings: only 65 per cent of respondents in Ontario, for example, weren’t happy with the current state of the classroom.

Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba were in the middle of the pack, with 68 per cent of those surveyed insisting their provinces spend more on education.

Across the country, Canadians with kids were more likely to believe that provinces were underfunding schools.

Learning with digital tools

Poll results show Canadians want their kids exposed to a mixture of old techniques, via blackboards and notebooks, and new technology with laptops and online portals for learning.

Only 16 per cent of Canadians were in favour of introducing the “most up-to-date” technology in the classroom, while a meager five per cent said old-fashioned teaching is best.

Overall, 79 per cent of those surveyed said they wanted kids to learn with a fine balance of both worlds.

Between August 24 and August 29, 1,569 Canadians were interviewed online for the Ipsos Reid survey, which was weighted to bring it in line with Canadian demographics.

Nationally, it has a margin error of 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, but the margin of error is higher for specific regions of the country.

carmen.chai@globalnews.ca


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