Laptop gifts fill learning gap

203496_01 Reflection in laptop. L-R Andrew Simmons, Sandra George, Todd Hartley and Simon Whiteley.


Laptops are being diverted from landfill into the hands of students, under a pioneering scheme in the South East.

The ‘This Is IT’ program aims to donate 1000 re-purposed laptops to secondary school students who don’t own a computer in Greater Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia.

On 8 February, organisers are set to present the first 120 laptops – donated by businesses and councils in the region.

Laptops are regarded as an educational necessity, yet up to 6000 secondary students in the South East don’t own one.

A secondary principal said the scheme was a “game changer for the students lucky enough to be a recipient of a laptop”.

“Schools are trying to prepare their students for the future. This is extremely difficult when students do not have access to the tools they require.”

A student set to receive a laptop from This Is IT said having their own hardware would help them keep up to date with work, especially while away from school on work placements.

“I will not have to stress about going to the library or staying at school after hours to complete my work.”

SELLEN chief executive Andrew Simmons said financial distress was identified as the main cause for disengagement from school.

It’s particularly acute in the South East with 52 per cent of disengaged young people identifying financial distress as a major factor.

“Where families are struggling to make ends meet, there are programs to assist with the costs of uniforms and second-hand book options,” Mr Simmons said.

“But nothing to assist in providing laptops.”

Mr Simmons said schools often didn’t have enough laptops available to borrow.

The scheme would help divert some of the 600,000 tons of e-waste in Australia each year – a case of “killing two birds with one stone”, Mr Simmons said.

This Is IT has been founded by SELLEN, Hilton Manufacturing, Greater Dandenong Council, Future Recycling, Corex and South East Business Networks (SEBN).

For more information, contact Andrew Simmons at SELLEN on