They say statistics are for losers. Well Canada does not rank in the top ten in terms of IT spending on education. The PC to student ratio in Canada is 10 to 1. Compare that to the U.S, where it is 6 to 1 with more students, Canada is lagging behind other countries and it may impact on the country’s

global competitiveness.

These statistics come from Microsoft Canada Co. of Mississauga, Ont., who has been actively lobbying the federal and provincial governments to revise its funding model and ministry budgets for education.

“”We want to raise the profile of tech spending on education,”” said George Kyriakis, director, education sales and marketing for Microsoft Canada. “”If you look at the money spent on students compared to that of the rest of the world we are behind. We want to build an online connected learning community in order for that to happen the proper funding needs to be in place,”” he said.

According to a recent Ipsos-Reid poll Canadians tend to agree with Microsoft.

About 74 per cent of the 800 Canadians surveyed by Ipsos-Reid believe computer technology and the Internet is very important to Canada’s ability to compete in the global economy, while 77 per cent think having access to technology for students at school is very important.

Also about 55 per cent of the respondents for the Ipsos-Reid survey strongly support increased government funding for technology in education, while 35 per cent somewhat agree that government funding is needed in this area.

With that Microsoft Canada has revamped its AER partner program with more training and marketing in an effort to get a bigger chunk of the more than $1 billion spent annually in Canada for technology in the education sector.

Currently, Kyriakis said that $375 million of that $1 billion in education spending goes to software and services.

“”Yes, $375 million is a low number. There probably is a need for it to be higher especially in software than there is today,”” Kyriakis said.

He added, that software spending has grown over the last 18 months.

About 1,200 resellers are authorized for the AER program and are able to sell to educational institutions. They can receive up to 75 per cent off corporate pricing as part of this program.

Also, Kyriakis said that these resellers could help to save money for educational institutions by providing accurate licensing, easy of procurement, online ordering and the discounts.

“”Budgets are flat or they are shrinking and they need to deploy technology, which saves them money,”” Kyriakis said.

There is also a big reseller opportunity beyond the ministry and each school board, he said. Resellers will be able to pass along the savings to vocational schools, museums, libraries and any other school that is accredited by the ministry of education.

They are, however, some barriers to this. The Ipsos-Reid survey found that 56 per cent of teachers lack sufficient training and that 53 per cent of the respondents believe that schools do not have up-do-date computers.

Again, Kyriakis point to the opportunity for resellers who focus on the education market.

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