UK SCHOOLS COUNT THE COST OF MISSED TECHNOLOGY SAVINGS

27 January 2014

UK SCHOOLS COUNT THE COST OF MISSED TECHNOLOGY SAVINGS

As the UK Government continues to promote cost savings in an age of austerity, new research from KYOCERA Document Solutions UK Ltd, suggests that the message isn’t reaching the classroom.

The survey of more than 500 teachers across the UK revealed a disconnect between Government-led changes and actionable measures to reduce expenditure within schools.  Despite almost four in ten (39%) teachers claiming that reducing costs and creating educational collateral are important technology considerations in their role, more than a third (35%) were unaware whether the cost of printing is accurately allocated in their schools.

Given that more than half (56%) of teachers believe that their school printed more than 3,000 sheets of paper in an average term, these figures suggest that schools, colleges and universities could be missing out on huge potential cost savings.

According to Rob Attryde, Marketing Manager, KYOCERA Document Solutions UK Ltd “Schools, colleges and universities are under constant pressure to scrutinise and reconsider their costs in line with current Government policy. One of the areas in which efficiencies can be particularly useful is around processes such as technology and printing, and it is surprising to see the opportunities that are being missed.”

Keeping up with technology advancement in the classroom

When it comes to technology adoption it is encouraging that only 9% of UK teachers felt that processes within their school were not keeping up with technology-led change. This was particularly true in London, where 60% of teachers polled said they believed the school, college or university they work for is on trend with the latest developments. Confidence is greater with senior school staff, as Head Teachers (64.3%) and Department Heads (39.4%) are the most likely to think their establishment is utilising the latest technology.

However, it seems that UK schools may be doing just enough to get by, as the majority of teachers surveyed said that their schools are only somewhat keeping up with technology-led change. This increases substantially in the South West (70%), Wales (67%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (65.7%). The outlook may be bleaker by 2017, as less than 10% of teachers (8.8%) think that keeping abreast of technology change will be a big challenge for schools in the next three years, with the majority (41%) citing Government legislation as the principal test.

Using technology to make a difference

In his 2011 speech to the Royal Society, Education Secretary Michael Gove said: “If we are to keep pace with our competitors, we need fundamental, radical reform in the curriculum, in teaching, and in the way we use technology in the classroom.”

Three years later it would seem that there is still much debate as to whether technology differentiates one school from another, with a near 50/50 split amongst the teachers polled by KYOCERA. What is clearer is how this differs by job title, with three-quarters of Head Teachers more likely to agree the technology in their schools differentiate them from other schools, whereas 56% of teachers disagree.

Schools in London (69%) and Scotland (74%) are more inclined to use technology to differentiate themselves, whilst almost three-quarters (74%) of respondents from Yorkshire and Humberside and 79% of those polled in Wales dispute the notion.

One thing that could aid differentiation in schools is the adoption of much heralded new technologies and techniques such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD), biometrics and apps, yet in each of these areas it appears that the reality does not match the hype:

• Almost two thirds of teachers in the UK have either never heard of the term BYOD or are not using it in their school. This, despite a third of survey respondents (33%) believing that ‘improved BYOD and mobile working’ would improve their school’s technology in the next year. 

• Security is a huge issue for schools across the UK, yet just over a quarter (27%) of schools currently use biometrics in their schools, with that number increasing to 40% in London.

• Apps are more prevalent in higher education, with 51% of teachers in colleges and universities saying that they use apps. Teachers across the UK are split down the middle on this issue, with 42% agreeing they do currently use apps in their schools and 42% saying they do not currently use apps in their schools. Of those using apps, the North East (54%) proves to be the leading region closely followed by London (52%).

Pauric Surlis, KYOCERA’s Public Sector Specialist concludes: “Technology has had a notable impact on British schools, but there is still a lack of awareness about the cost cutting benefits it brings. By investing in smarter, more efficient technologies, there are many ways in which processes can be altered to be more efficient and cost effective, particularly in regards to ancillary elements of the teaching environment, such as printing, secure printing and print management.”



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