Network for Learning will connect the 2000th school to the government’s funded N4L Managed Network this week, according to Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye.
“A bundle of schools will be connected this week,” Kaye says. “One of these will be the 2000th school connected, and I’ll be calling the principal to mark the milestone.”
Kaye says this will mean more than 80% of schools are using the Managed Network, which provides fast, reliable internet, uncapped data, web filtering and network security services, at no cost.
“Schools connected within the past week include the country’s largest school, Auckland’s Rangitoto College, with 3000 students, and several small rural schools,” Kaye explains.
“All up, around 600,000 students and 36,000 teachers now have fast, reliable internet for learning.”
Kaye says the Government is investing $211 million in the project, so that all state, state-integrated and partnership schools can have uncapped internet access funded by the Crown.
“This is about ensuring every young person has access to high-quality internet for learning, no matter where they go to school in New Zealand,” she says.
“Fast connections and uncapped data are like heat and water. Every student should have as much as they need to achieve their best and make the most of their school day,” Kaye adds.
The Managed Network rollout, which is led by Network for Learning, continues to be ahead of schedule, with over 700 schools connecting since N4L passed the halfway mark in February.
“The Managed Network is helping bring the internet to children who might not otherwise be able to access it, and it’s expanding learning opportunities for everyone in the classroom,” explains Kaye.
“It’s also reducing IT complexity in schools, so that teachers can focus on teaching and learning.
“Having access to reliable, ultra-fast broadband is critical to enabling schools to explore more innovative approaches to teaching and learning, using the internet and digital technologies.”
John Hanna, N4L CEO, says everyone at N4L is driven by a shared vision for young people to gain the best possible benefits and educational opportunities from technology.
He says the shared vision, coupled with the positive response from schools transitioning onto the Managed Network, has enabled the rollout to continue at a steady pace, without compromising on support levels.
“Our team has visited every single one of the 2000 connected schools, ensuring each and every one will be able to get the most from using the Managed Network,” says Hanna.
“Every school is different. Not only do they come in all different sizes, with varied geographies and deciles, but they are also at different stages of their digital learning journey.”
He adds, “It is essential that the services we provide are customised to support the needs and circumstance of every single school.”
Kaye says the government is anticipating up to 90% of New Zealand’s 2500-plus schools will be able to connect to the Managed Network by the end of this year with all participating schools able to connect by the end of 2016.
Hanna says a number of factors determine when a school is able to get their Managed Network connection, including the availability of the government’s UFB (Ultra Fast Broadband) and RBI (Rural Broadband Initiative).
When the rollout is complete by the end of next year, more than 800,000 users are expected to be using the Managed Network. N4L connected the first school to the Managed Network at the end of November 2013.