This audit reviewed the effectiveness of learning technologies in government schools. In particular, the audit focused on two key Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) learning technology initiatives: VicSmart and the Ultranet.
The government's current policy for ICT in school education, the Digital Learning Statement (the Statement), does not provide a clear action plan or framework for investment in learning technologies. This means that departmental staff and school leaders have little guidance on how future learning technology initiatives can be appropriately planned and integrated.
Planning for the VicSmart high-speed fibre-optic network for all government schools was underpinned by a robust needs and options analysis. The high-speed connectivity that VicSmart provides is a key enabler of current and future digital learning in government schools.
In contrast, the Ultranet was poorly planned and implemented. Six years after its announcement, it is yet to achieve expected benefits for students, parents and schools. It is significantly late, more than 80 per cent over its first announced budget, has very low uptake, and does not have originally intended functionality.
This audit identified a number of serious probity, procurement and financial management issues surrounding the Ultranet project. DEECD’s tender process lacked rigour and was seriously flawed. There is little confidence in the financial management practices around the Ultranet project, and limited assurance that the selected outcome represented value for money.