Sub School Installation To Students? Smart Or Stupid?

This is an interesting article, profiling a school district and an integrator pairing up to lower installation costs in a novel way:

“We’re looking at a program to assist schools in doing some of their own installation,” David Vermillion, president of Vermillion Systems told Security Systems News.

This program would enlist the help of a school’s IT department and building trades program so that some students could do some cabling work. It will provide training for students and lower the cost of a security installation for the school district.

“It certainly can be a pretty significant cost savings when you take much of the [cabling] labor out of the project. It can make the difference between being able to [afford] the project or not,” Vermillion said.

The questions this raises are interesting, ranging from 'Is the district exploiting (cheap) student laborers?', to 'Is there better OTJ out there?'

Personally I think this is a great idea, and as long as it is executed properly, is the proverbial 'win-win' that decision makers seek. However, there are potential downsides as well:

Pros

  • Reduced system installation costs
  • Valuable experience for IT students, depicting the 'real' side of many IT jobs
  • Sense of ownership from students on final system, potentially lowering the risk of vandalism

Cons

  • Unfair expectations/responsibilities projected to student helpers, who are 'there to learn', not 'do manual labor'
  • Scheme for integrator to sell more product/service to district, under the guise of a 'work study' type program
  • Increased knowledge of schematics/operation/blindspots puts effectiveness of video surveillance system at risk.

What do you think?

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