The House of Representatives has passed a law regarding providing fourth-grade primary school pupils with laptops

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434 deputies voted in favor of the bill, 11 opposed it, and 7 abstained.

Earlier, the House of Representatives adopted 5 amendments proposed by the Law and Justice Party during the second reading of the bill. They are of clarifying nature. However, he rejected the amendment introduced by KO, according to which laptops or tablets could be provided to students.

According to the law, every year – starting with the 2023/2024 academic year – fourth-grade students in public and private primary schools will receive free laptops every year. This also applies to students of public and non-state technical schools providing general education, learning in classes corresponding to the fourth grade of primary school.

Laptops will be centrally purchased each year by the office serving the Minister for Computing, based on data on the number of students in a given year provided by the Minister of Education. The laptops will then be handed over to the school’s governing bodies, who will hand over the equipment to the parents of grade 4 primary school students by September 30. In 2023, laptops will be shipped out by December 31 at the latest.

The laptop computer given to the student will be the property of his/her parents. The transfer will be made on the basis of an agreement entered into by the body managing the school or institution with the student’s parents. The laptops received by law will not be sold for 5 years. In the event of a change of class, school or institution by the student, the laptop computer that was handed over to him/her will not be returned to the authority managing the school or institution.

A student is entitled to only one publicly funded laptop. If a student in the supported class receives a laptop computer through subsidies from other publicly funded programs, the student’s parents will need to identify which laptop the student will use. If a laptop computer purchased under this support program is selected, the laptop computer received under other funded programs will be returned to the entity from which the student received it.

The law also states that teachers will receive a PLN 2500 voucher for the purchase of a laptop or a browser laptop. As provided by law, it concerns teachers, tutors and other educational personnel who have an employment relationship from September 4, 2023 in public and non-public primary and secondary schools. The minister concerned with computerization shall determine the groups of teachers from primary and secondary schools, governmental and non-governmental, who are entitled to receive support and their sequence, taking into account the type of school and the subject taught by the teacher, as follows: as well as the socio-economic situation and the state of public finances.

On Thursday, at the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee for Education, Science and Youth, Pawe Lewandowski, Deputy Minister of Digitization, explained: “In response to the needs of the social aspect, we decided to give the Minister of Digitization the opportunity to expand the scope of the intervention, which refers in the regulation to other categories of education personnel that this intervention may include, That is, by default, these are teachers of public schools, but they may be covered – optional – by teachers of non-governmental schools, in addition to other education staff He added that the ministry is working on a draft regulation.

In the bill, in its original text, vouchers were only available to public elementary school teachers. The Parliamentary Education Committee changed this clause – at the request of the Ministry of Digitization – by introducing the possibility of transferring the voucher to other teachers as well.

The authority managing the school or institution will be able to apply for a voucher for the teacher through the ICT system, the operation of which will be ensured by the Minister in charge of computing. The Minister will also keep and make available in the Public Information Bulletin and on his website a list of shops (points of sale) with the addresses where the vouchers will be redeemed.

Purchasing a laptop or web browser for an amount less than the voucher amount received will not entitle the instructor to a refund or other use of the remaining voucher amount. In the event of purchasing a laptop or a laptop browser whose price exceeds the amount of the voucher given, the teacher covers the difference from his own money.

With the voucher received, the teacher will be able to make a one-time payment. The voucher received cannot be paid in installments. The voucher will not be redeemed for cash or any other legal means of payment or any other means of exchange. The right to make payments with a voucher will expire at the end of December 31, 2025.

Also, laptops purchased under the coupon will not be sold for 5 years.

A teacher is entitled to only one form of support related to financing the purchase of a laptop or a web browser. If a teacher receives a laptop or benefit to fund its purchase as part of support from other publicly funded programs, they will have to choose which laptop to use. If support is selected from this program, a laptop computer received under other publicly funded programs will be returned to the entity from which the teacher received it.

On Thursday, at a meeting of the Education Committee, Deputy Minister Lewandowski made it clear that this did not apply to teachers who benefited from equipment purchase subsidies in 2020 during the pandemic. “The subsidy of PLN 500 granted at that time was not directly intended for the purchase of computers” – he said. “Basically, many supports should not be repeated, but this PLN 500 help was not intended for browser laptops, but for tutor support in general equipment – so there is no conflict here,” – explained Lewandowski.

Laptops delivered to students, laptops purchased by teachers with vouchers and vouchers will not be subject to law enforcement and will not be subject to taxation.

The law also contains provisions amending the Copernican Academy Code. According to them, supervision of the academy will not be carried out by the prime minister, but by the minister of education and science.

The law on supporting digital competencies for students and teachers will now go to the Senate.

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