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School digital hubs now possible

Hon Nikki Kaye

Associate Minister of Education

20 February 2013       Media Statement       

School digital hubs now possible

Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye says from today schools with ultra-fast broadband can share their fibre connections with their local communities.

“Last November, I announced that the government had agreed to progress schools with ultra-fast broadband having the option to become digital hubs for their communities. I am delighted to confirm that this can now happen, with the Ministry of Education releasing its policy and guidelines today,” Ms Kaye says.

“Schools may operate under one of two models. Under an ‘extended school wide area network’ model, a school’s wireless hub extends access to the school network beyond the physical boundaries of the school, creating opportunities for students and teachers to take advantage of the school’s network while at home.

“Alternatively, schools may operate under a ‘school as a community internet hub’ model, where the board chooses to share the physical fibre connection with a retail service provider. The retail service provider can then use the fibre to provide a commercial public internet service to the community.

“Connecting to ultra-fast broadband provides opportunities not only to learners, teachers and school administrators, but also to the wider community around the school. This is especially the case for remote, rural communities or communities that struggle to afford access to the internet.

“If a school board allows the ultra-fast broadband infrastructure to be used in ways that benefit more than the school, they become a community digital hub.

“This arrangement will not suit every school. However, I think for certain rural and less connected communities, who have not had broadband or reliable connectivity, there will be benefits.

“This initiative is well aligned with other Government initiatives supporting digital technologies in schools. For instance, the roll-out of ultra-fast broadband to schools, the School Network Upgrade Project and the implementation of the Network for Learning managed network,” Ms Kaye says.

Guidelines for schools and board of trustees and other related information are now available on the Ministry’s website www.minedu.govt.nz/DigitalHubs.

The Ministry is also providing school boards with access to expertise if they are contemplating entering into digital hub arrangements and to assist schools finalise contracts as required by the guidelines.

“I am very pleased to be making this announcement today. This initiative will provide schools, students and teachers with more educational opportunities beyond the traditional confines of the school gates. More students will be able to take advantage of learning with digital technologies outside of the school environment, irrespective of whether they have ultra-fast broadband in their home,” Ms Kaye says.

ENDS

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