Apple has reportedly been paying for Irish teachers to attend functions in the US, according to leaked docs.
Four teachers from a school with a compulsory iPad policy in Limerick have racked up 13 Apple-funded trips abroad since 2015. They attended another five events in Dublin. Apple did not pay for flights but covered other costs.
Teachers and an official from Dublin and Dún Laoghaire education and training board (ETB) attended a conference in Austin, Texas, in 2018 and another in the Netherlands.
Several Irish schools now require students to buy a tablet or iPad instead of using textbooks. Officials in Limerick said that part of the reason for this was better support for Irish language resources.
Limerick and Clare ETB told The Times there was no conflict of interest. It said: "Teachers and officials who attend Apple events benefit from networking, collaboration, and sharing of best practice."
The move comes as research suggests that kids and adults absorb less from digital screens than paper books.
It also raises issues for schools that prescribe one manufacturer, especially one whose price list is comparatively exorbitant, and advise all parents the purchase the technology.
Apple said all teachers attending events had to get sign-off from an ethics officer or school board. And, of course, Apple is not alone in going after schools and colleges.
Microsoft offers free subscriptions or hefty discounts to teachers, students and schoolchildren. About half a million kids in Wales even get Office 365 ProPlus thanks to a deal paid for by the Welsh government.
There are also data protection and privacy issues raised by making single-platform choices for schools.
Schools in one German state were recently told to stop using Office 365 because of a lack of clarity as to whether Microsoft's cloud-based service could be accessed by US authorities.
The Register has asked Apple to comment. ®