|NEW ZEALAND'S EDUCATION
24 May, 2011
Government Ministers Anne Tolley and Steven Joyce say ultra fast broadband to schools will transform the education system by enhancing the way teachers teach and children learn.
Their comments follow the award today of the final two contracts for the roll out of ultra fast broadband around New Zealand and the award last month of a contract for the roll out of broadband in rural areas.
Combined, the plans will see all state and state-integrated schools given a broadband boost by 2016.
Mr Joyce says more than a third of all state and state-integrated schools will be fibre-ready by the end of this year.
?Over the next five years, 97 per cent of schools will receive ultra fast fibre enabling speeds of 100 Mbps plus. The remaining 3 per cent of schools, which are in the most remote locations, will receive a high speed wireless or satellite connection ? a tender process for broadband provision to these schools will get underway next month. No schools will miss out.?
Mrs Tolley says this will make New Zealand?s education system one of the most wired in the world, enabling schools to significantly enhance teaching practices, improve student engagement and lift achievement.
?Fewer than 200 New Zealand schools currently have bandwidth capable of the ultra-fast broadband speeds that are essential for applications such as high definition, two-way video conferencing.
?This technology means that students anywhere in New Zealand can have access to the best teachers and online resources anywhere in the world.?
The Government will invest $150 million to prepare the sector for the rollout. Work is underway on a range of initiatives to help schools to make best use of ultra-fast broadband. This includes $28m to pay for the drop costs to get fibre from the street to school buildings.
The Ministry of Education?s School Network Upgrade Project is progressively upgrading state and state-integrated schools? internal networks in readiness for fibre.
So far more than 500 state and state-integrated schools have received subsidised upgrades and around 300 more are currently underway.