The Rudd government is about to consider how to put a billion dollars worth of computers on school desks. The preferred method for government purchases is to let a tender for the purchase. In parallel to the tender approach it is suggested that the government set up an open electronic market place specifically and exclusively for schools and allow schools to equip themselves from the special market place. That is the government, establishes an electronic market place where approved vendors can put up the equipment they are able to supply and the conditions under which the supply will be made. The government gives schools the money to spend and the schools can choose the equipment they need. Because the market place is electronic and because it is only for schools the government can monitor sales and see how the money is being spent and can measure the outcomes. Each time a purchase is made the school will specify how many more students have “a computer on their desk”. Potentially usage of the computers can be automatically aggregated and monitored for effectiveness. Such a scheme could be in place within a few months and it will lead to innovative solutions from vendors and innovative suggestions from schools. The scheme will get over the inevitable state/federal squabbles that are always involved when the federal government helps fund state responsibilities.

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