FutureFive NZ - Are NZ's health and education sectors ready for UFB?

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Are NZ's health and education sectors ready for UFB?

The Commerce Commission has issued the second of three papers being published in advance of a public conference on Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) taking place next month. 

The paper looks at whether two of New Zealand’s biggest sectors, Education and Health, are in a position to utilise the UFB network that is currently being built.

Both students and teachers have taken well to the internet, the report says, with the latter as well equipped as those in comparable countries in the area of e-learning. 

"A great deal has been done over the past decade to up skill [teachers],” the report reads, "and most have been willing to leave their comfort zones and embrace [e-learning] as learners.

However, teacher training institutions have not been so forward-thinking.

"One are that arose repeatedly as a serious concern in the interviews was the perception that our colleges of education are many years behind the times in teaching the teachers.

"Student teachers of today will still be teaching in 2050, yet allegedly they are being taught using 1950s practices. Action is needed to better align ‘teachers of teachers’ with modern classroom realities.”

As for the health sector, with an ageing population there is huge pressure to improve services, but while ICT is recognised as a way to do this, ‘health stands alone as one of the few sectors yet to maximise the transformation the internet can deliver’.

"The sector has a frustrating tendency to implement local ‘pilot’ programmes. Everyone is enthused by these programmes as they demonstrate great potential, but then they peter out.

"Often such a pilot is almost as expensive to implement as a full-blown national rollout, yet due to lack of scale does not deliver the anticipated financial benefits.”

A third report looking at consumers’ willingness to pay for UFB is due out on February 7, with the conference to be held on February 20 and 21. Go here to download the current reports, or here for more on the conference.

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