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Summary of the evaluation of the Computers for Schools Program

March 2017

About the Evaluation

  • The evaluation assessed the relevance and performance of the program.
  • It covered the period from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2016.

What the evaluation found

Program description

  • Launched in 1993, Computers for Schools refurbishes donated computers and distributes them to schools, libraries, not-for-profit organizations and Aboriginal communities across Canada.
  • Canadian youth are engaged in the refurbishment process, and develop skills in computer repair and software testing while cultivating softer skills.
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada leads this program for the federal government, working with provincial and territorial governments, not-for profit organizations as well as the private and volunteer sectors.
  • Since inception, the program has distributed over 1.4 million refurbished computers nationwide.
  • There is a continued need to provide refurbished computers to students and other Canadians.
  • Recent changes to the program have made computer technology accessible to Canadians who could not otherwise afford it.
  • The program aligns with federal responsibilities to foster access to technology, maximize the use of crown assets and contribute to sustainable development through the appropriate disposal of IT equipment.
  • The objectives of the program are consistent with federal government priorities related to developing stronger digital skills among Canadians and providing work experience to youth.
  • The program enhances the employability of youth through internship and other employment opportunities in refurbishment centres.
  • CFS reduces the environmental footprint of government and businesses through reuse and recycling of their computer equipment.
  • The partnerships surrounding the program are vital to its success, providing donations and in-kind contributions.
  • The program continues to meet delivery targets, despite a reduction in resources over the assessment period, and is successful in leveraging funding from other sources.
  • It has worked to realize efficiencies since the previous evaluation, including reducing reporting requirements and introducing multi-year contribution agreements. However, it continues to mine data manually, creating some challenges with program reporting.

Recommendations (as agreed upon by management)

  • The CFS program should consider modernizing its data collection, capture and storage with a view to ensuring adequate performance information is available.
  • The CFS program should continue to explore the diversity of its interns and consider what more could be done to attract female candidates.

Complete version of the evaluation report

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