Parents Forced Into Monopoly Over School iPads

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It appears that one private company in Ireland might have found a way to see that parents, sending their children to school, are forced into buying expensive Apple iPads only from themselves. No other option allowed?

This is an ordinary public school. Not a boarding school or in any way supposed to be exclusive. However… If you cannot afford to pay for these items, it seems you will be put in a position of not even thinking, of applying to this school. 

Children are likely to be left EXCLUDED because (a) parents won’t buy from this one monopolising company pre-setting down attendance conditions or (b) likely cannot now afford to attend such more expensive, public schools?

Wriggle.ie (LINK) has told parents in the Drogheda, Co Louth area, that they MUST ONLY buy Wriggles iPads if their children are to attend Ballymakenny College and that apparently that they cannot not use any other already purchased – now or worse, in the future from elsewhere (at a cheaper price too).

In letter sent out via the Drogheda college, the private company has passed on the message:

“There will be no ‘bring your own device’ option on our Online Store going forward.”

They have also added:

“You must buy through the Wriggle store if you are going to purchase an iPad and you intend your child to use it…”

In once section of their letter to parents enrolling for the 2017 terms they go further:

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In other words, as some parents and grand parents have already bought children (enrolled in the 2017 term) an iPad already, some “changes” have been introduced since then by Wriggle to stop these from being used by the school?

…However, the ones bought from solo the private business, will be the only ones that can be used? Even if they are also the EXACT same range and spec as other iPads?

UnitedPeople is in the process of contacting Apple to verify if the extraordinary claims by the company “Wriggle”, are factually true. What exact technical specification difference there is between one iPad and other of the EXACT same make and EXACT same range, bought within months of each other!

It’s assumed that only Apple are allowed to change internal technical aspects of their products? If this is the case, as its their ownership copyright, how has Wriggle obtained any ability to technically change an Apple product internally? Something doesn’t add up?

The latest attempt to force many cash strapped parents to possibly buy yet another iPad – especially when their child might have been given one already (or given one from elsewhere in the future, e.g. a caring grandparent) – is engaging parents that have subsequently contacted UnitedPeople. In order to ensure that Wriggle future has an even stronger future monopoly over parents purchasing power, the letter state:

“We have worked with parents to allow students to ‘bring their own device’ if they have already had a suitable iPad, but going forward we will not be able to offer this option.”
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In effect what this could mean, is if cash strapped parents are going to try obtain a cheaper iPad for their children through sale or gift in the future, the Wriggle private company is not going to entertain this idea. Parents will be forced to obtain an iPad  – one possible more expensive – only from the private business and no one else!

Don’t even dare obtaining one second-hand or from someone else passed on?

This might be judged as nothing short of using children and threat to their education, as a way to strong-arm parents, into a monopoly purchase?

  • Will the college involved, still allow children to be enrolled within future yearly terms, even if they seek a cheaper iPad (of the EXACT same make) from an alternative source?
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  • Will the college refuse to take admissions to the school if parents don’t prior agree and sign, only to buy from Wriggle?
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  • Will parents be told they cannot apply or take up an offered place for a school placement, if they later decline to purchase from Wriggle but seek a cheaper iPad elsewhere?
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  • Will parents be refused a school placement later – after acceptance letters going out – but they then indicate that they cannot afford to buy an Apple iPad? How will public schools or more so, Wriggle, making these financial demands, then cope with this?
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  • Will the college later on new application forms, have a section stipulating that parents must purchase from Wriggle?

Is it a case of…
“Pay up to this one company or we have to refuse, to educate your children?”

The school involved, will shortly be contacted for clarification on these matters. We seriously doubt the school would refuse any child. Teachers being the dedicated people they are, try their best to be inclusive toward every child. No outside business should not put any school in a position where they have to say to parents, enrolments might be harder due to items to be prior purchased.

We hope some form of new government technology scheme for parents, will help such schools in this regard. Ballymakenny and others like it, have dedicated staff. They should be given the best support possible by the state.

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The Future.

What is going to happen when parents, who have later additional children to find a school placement, elsewhere in Ireland, also gain a cheaper or second-hand iPad of same make, from elsewhere?

  • Are they too, to be refused a school placement or not allowed even apply? Will there be, on later school enrolments forms, be a stated pre-condition that they must purchase from this one company? A pre-condition that they must first contract sign to, before they are even allowed submit their application for a child’s school pace?
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  • If a school’s board of management has accepted that a private company can force parents to buy their products – Is this an unofficial way for someone to filter out poor children from others, more financially better off?
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  • Has a scenario been created consisting of: “You can’t afford this public school – you’re out of the running!”
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  • If parents can’t afford a possible €700+ iPad – are parents now legal discriminated from being able to get their children to attend a school?
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  • What about families that have more children, trying later to attend the same school? Cough-up another €700+ again and again…

Is schools in Ireland going to forced capitulate to a private company’s demands then, and allow it to be dictated to, for the additional sake of profit? After all, Wriggle is not a charity – they are operating to under-current financially gain for themselves?

  • What happens to the government allowance for purchasing school books? How is that going to cover a €700+ IPad – for every child?
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  • What is going to happen regarding the allowance, to parents with more than one child?
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  • Has the government found another way to back-door aid Apple company?
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  • Is this financial discrimination against poorer families – also forcing them into even greater debt?
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  • Will this be forcing less well off possible into the hands of load-sharks or the banks again? 

 


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The Way Forward.

The Educate Together school system (LINK) in Ireland is one of best fastest growing school systems in Ireland. The demand from parents for this system is growing. It’s easy to understand why. The state is playing catch-up presently. The demand is certainly there.

UnitedPeople completely welcomes the Educate Together system. It is a shining example of a positive way forward for education in Ireland. Combined with the use of technology that can be utilised so that all can avail of it (regardless of financial status), it is definitely a positive way forward for the children of Ireland.

We wish all those involved in such an endeavour, the very best success.

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The Schools of Ireland Need Better Support.

It is clear that this school system and present schools MUST be better state funded. All have been targeted by state austerity measures. These measures in turn, has left hard working teachers and administrations, under severe pressure at times. In fact, it might be safe to say, it has compounded on any already pressure they were under.

No person can do their best when they are under such pressure? Let’s lighten their load. It shouldn’t even be a question. …Just lets do it!

If the nations children are to become best prepared for the future, their education must not be declined by government through financial withdraws or other measures which adds more pressure on the Irish school system.

Today’s teachers have become more than just educators. At times they are unofficial called to act as first-aid assistants, minders, involved in some aspects of social work as they show great concern for the children under their class care. They do all this most of the time, unpaid and under acknowledged. After-hours work such as further planning and hands-on preparation of further educational material for later days, is often under-valued by elected representatives.

We believe that the teachers of Ireland should be far more appreciated. It’s time their efforts are better recognised and supported. We can all do this in many ways, as indicated sometimes by teaching individual and their representative organisations. 

We must do better for them – for they are trying to do better for our children. We have dedicated people such as teachers in Ireland, trying to exactly do this. In the end – let us be honest – by doing so, we are also helping our own children further for their future.

There should be no “ifs” …Just let do it!

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A Worrying Sign.

For some time now, consecutive governments of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour, have repeatedly avoided tacking the issue of parents being forced to buy scholastic items only from one source that gets to dictate price.

It could be judged again as more back-door privatisation techniques of government departments. Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail have yet to comment on this extremely disturbing turn of events.

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