School laptop repair costs hitting home

Hunter parents are paying hundreds of dollars to repair government-funded high school laptops because students are vandalising the outside.

At least two Hunter high schools have had to issue warnings to parents because of issues.

Under the maintenance contract for the Digital Education Revolution laptops, if students hand in their notebook for internal repairs and the computers are not in good condition on the outside the repairers deem it malicious damage and the unit out of warranty.

It means parents are asked to cover the cost of both internal and external repairs and even a replacement.

Maitland Grossman High had to warn its students they were not permitted to carve their names in the case, remove keys or plastic frames, remove branding badges or write all over the laptop.

The computers are leased to high school students until the end of year 12, when they own it.

At Hunter School of Performing Arts some parents of year 9 students who received the units this year have had to pay the minimum repair cost of $274 because of carelessness or accidental damage.

Principal Richard Jennings told parents that students should not leave a laptop bag unattended.

‘‘There have been incidents where someone causes damage by sitting on a bag containing a laptop and arguments have ensued about who is responsible to pay for the damage caused,’’ he said.

Most schools have laptop use charters and parents and students are urged to read and comply.

It follows a recall of year 9 laptops earlier this year because of the threat of overheating.

There was a minor cabling defect detected in three laptops in NSW and two of them had mechanical failures.

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