Some snippets from this week’s Key’s written answers

Huawei Ban Still Likely

The island is continuing to work with partners in the Channel Islands and Westminster to seek a solution to the UK ban on Huawei technology being used in 5G technology. 

Douglas Central MHK Chris Thomas asked Enterprise Minister Laurence Skelly what his policy is on the use of Huawei technology for telecommunications in the Isle of Man and how this relates to the UK Gov decision to ban Huawei from the 5G rollout.

Mr Skelly said: ‘The UK decision to ban certain High Risk Vendors, including Huawei, centred primarily on new 5G networks. Presently, the Isle of Man does not have any commercial 5G networks, although local telecoms providers are currently undertaking some limited trials. 

‘It remains the case that the UK intends to implement new telecommunication legislation by April this year with the relevant direction notices and additional secondary legislation following shortly after. 

‘It also remains the case that the UK intends to facilitate a transition period allowing operators the chance to engineer high risk vendors out of their 5G networks by 2027. These proposals are still under review and could change after the introduction of the legislation in April.

‘The DfE, in partnership with Home Affairs, is working with key stakeholders to create a security framework that aims to protect our telecoms networks and combat threats including cyber-crime and other attacks.’

The DfE, in partnership with the DHA, is also working with Jersey and Guernsey in the development of the aforementioned security framework.

Teacher Ratio

The average pupil to teacher ratio in island schools is 20:1 in primary schools and 13:1 in high schools. The figures were released after a question from Liberal Vannin leader Lawrie Hooper to Education Minister Dr Al. The highest ratio in 2020 in primary schools was 22:1 at Ashley Hill, Ballacottier, Henry Bloom Noble, Peel Clotherworkers’ and Rushen. While at the island’s state funded high schools, the highest ratio was 14: 1 at Castle Rushen and QE II. 

IT Support

Dr Al also revealed that as well as the DESC’s IT budget, it has provided funding for equipment for disabled students attending higher education. Over the last five years, this has totalled £110,030