If you walk into most primary schools, you’ll find a vast array of different types of computers. There are a variety of operating systems on show, but it’s fair to guess that a large number of primary schools are running computers and laptops with Windows XP, which Microsoft announced it was ending its support for recently. (I feel I should say that you’ll find even older operating system in some primary schools but that’s just before anyone else does!)
Due to lack of any form of structure in government funding for ICT, primary schools are unable to plan as they never know when the next round of funding is coming. Furthermore, they never know how much they will be getting. This is why, whenever a school receives some money, they have to use it as wisely as possible. There hasn’t been any real funding for ICT in all primary schools for a number of years. Coupled this with failed government plans, the primary school ICT landscape is haphazard and you’ll rarely see two schools with the same infrastructure. Much of Ireland’s primary schools’ ICT has been funded by sponsorship and cake sales.
Lately, schools have been receiving dire warnings, mainly from companies selling computers, stating that they will need to upgrade their hardware as their computers will become insecure and be riddled with viruses within weeks.
I received an email from a teacher asking what she should do so I thought, writing this article might help. Before I give my advice, I just want to say that this is only my opinion and it may be out of date very soon. However, I hope it won’t!
What does the end of XP support mean for Irish schools?
My simple response is: nothing.
I don’t think it’s going to make a huge difference to us. I guess we’ll have to keep our virus checkers up to date but that’s about all.
However, if things do go crazy and we have to get rid of XP, and we have no money to upgrade our computers, my plan is to install a Linux operating system on all the PCs until the next lot of grants if they ever come.