Schools with ultra-fast broadband will soon be able to share their fibre connections with their local communities, Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye said today.
“In communities with poor connectivity, typically rural or remote areas, schools will be able to make their fibre infrastructure available to the wider community,” Ms Kaye says.
“This move supports students to engage in learning anywhere, at any time. Families will have a greater ability to connect with their children’s learning, and schools’ connections to their communities will be strengthened.
“I anticipate this will also enable students who don’t have internet at home to continue their learning after school.
“This arrangement will not suit every school, but I think for certain rural and lower socio-economic communities there will be benefits.
“These benefits include giving access to people who would not previously have had reliable internet. The school can become a community focal point.
“The Government recognises the crucial role digital technology plays in education.
“We have increased funding to speed up the roll-out of broadband to schools so they have access to a managed network providing them with safe, predictable and fast internet with uncapped data, content filtering and network security services.
“This provision of fibre connections for ultra-fast broadband offers an opportunity for some schools to act as digital hubs in their communities. This can include schools providing adult education courses in digital literacy and/or expanding education opportunities for students outside school hours and beyond school grounds.
“The Manaiakalani Education Trust is a good example of how a wide area network for a cluster of schools can give students access to online services and broaden the reach of their learning environment.”
The Ministry of Education will provide guidelines and information to school boards who wish to set up a commercial arrangement with internet service providers allowing access to their fibre connection. This will ensure that schools protect their ability to receive network connections and avoid additional costs or responsibilities.
“New Zealand schools are transforming the way they teach via new technologies. The Government supports partnerships which bring together educators, the private sector and the wider school community to achieve innovative and creative new opportunities for students, their families and their communities,” Ms Kaye says.
For more information:http://www.minedu.govt.nz/theMinistry/EducationInitiatives/UFBInSchools.aspx