The financial crisis in the economy is likely for the first time to have a marked impact on the primary and secondary education sectors, and schools now may have to consider alternative solutions to keep their institutions cash-flush and agile.
“Every business sector and most organisation are feeling some level of added pressure as a result of the economic situation, says Stuart Lewis, managing executive: corporate & commercial for Rentworks.” Usually the general market turbulence has little or no impact on our primary and secondary education sectors.”
But this time, it seems not even South African schools can escape the fallout.
An obvious area that will come under pressure to be scrapped or put on hold is the adoption of IT, says Lewis.
“A school’s IT strategy usually depends on whether they wish to chase the leading edge of technology, buying new equipment and upgrading regularly, or whether they accept that older equipment can still deliver the functionality needed by students whilst reducing the financial burden of regular replacements.”
And while both strategies have their own merit, the current economic climate means that the regular replacement of technology becomes a drain on financial resources.
“Sweating the assets, which certainly makes sense under the circumstances, also runs the risk of increasing maintenance costs, increasing downtime and impacting on the ability of students to work through their curriculum," he adds.
“Smart businesses across the board are renting their IT today. This allows them to leverage their budgets, preserve their capital and keep pace with technology developments."
And this is becoming a viable option for more and more schools concerned about their IT infrastructure needs.
More specifically it seems smart schools are renting refurbished IT, or renting a combination of new and used.
“To put it simply, for the same expenditure you can fit out four refurbished e-labs for every one new one and by renting you still preserve your cash resources.” says Lewis.