Schools with ultra-fast broadband will soon be able to share their fibre connections with their local communities.
Schools in rural and remote areas, which typically have poor connectivity, will be able to make their fibre infrastructure available to the wider community.
Nikki Kaye, associate education minister, says the 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,” she says.
“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.”
Schools that share their fibre connections with the wider community could provide 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,” says Kaye.