The Government’s decision to invest $500,000 to enable over 40 more schools nationwide to receive wireless technology stands to boost education focused partners, who are set to capitalise as part of the Ministry of Education’s Wireless School Network Upgrade Project (WSNUP).
Revealed by Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye, the completion of the School Network Upgrade Project (SNUP) has provided state and state-integrated schools with upgraded core on-site infrastructure such as cabling and switching, to enable them to access high-quality internet for learning.
“The advent of wireless technology saw this technology automatically included as part of SNUP, for over 1,200 schools which received their upgrade from June 2013 on,” Kaye says.
“The WSNUP project was set up in late 2014 to retrofit wireless technology to a number of schools that had already received a core digital infrastructure upgrade, prior to wireless technology being included in SNUP.
“Under WSNUP, work is already well advanced towards retrofitting wireless technology to over 430 schools, and I’m pleased that today’s announcement will see over 40 more schools also receive wireless upgrades.”
Kaye says the Ministry of Education will contact schools to offer them access to the upgrade with evidence suggesting that widespread and mobile access to the internet will lead to “new and significant opportunities” for students, parents and teachers.
“The rollout of wireless connections is a vital step towards delivering these opportunities, enabling more young New Zealanders to learn anytime and anywhere,” Kaye adds.
“Thanks to the SNUP and WSNUP projects, schools are being provided with state-of-the-art infrastructure so they can make full use of ultrafast broadband in the classroom, along with Crown-funded, uncapped data via the N4L Managed Network.
“Over 95 per cent of schools are now connected to the Managed Network, which also offers services such as web filtering, network security and helpdesk support.
“The Government has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in these programmes to ensure young New Zealanders have some of the best infrastructure and connectivity anywhere in the world.”
As outlined during the recent Reseller News Roundtable - Maximising Mobility: How can the channel compete? - James Arnold, Country Manager, Dell New Zealand, cites the work of the Government in fostering a digital environment for the next generation, as Kiwi schools utilise digital technologies for teaching and learning.
“We have new learning environments within New Zealand and these classrooms require that mobile capability,” Arnold explained during the discussion. “The children of today are working and collaborating in ways different than a decade ago, and that’s having an impact on the future of mobility.”
As connected classrooms become the norm across the country, the partner power play also evolves in parallel, with education specialists Cyclone Computing reaping the rewards from an upward trend across the wider education sector.
“Education is huge for us in terms of mobility,” says Noel Jack, Director, Cyclone Computers. “On the one hand it’s an easy discussion to have because of the flexibility it provides, but the flip side challenges remain.
“While mobility is a key strategy, the tertiary sector in particular faces an ongoing problem in terms of how they manage mobility across the campus. They are all trying to find the holy grail in terms of finding a system that fits all but so far, that doesn’t exist.”
As specialists in providing services and support for New Zealand All of Government agencies, tertiary institutions, schools and commercial organisations, Jack says most IT departments - irrespective of sector - remain constrained by budget cuts and unpredictable Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) programs.
“BYOD remains a concern across the board,” he adds. “And the key is how do businesses manage the need for users to bring their personal devices into the corporate world.
“As a reseller, we made the conscious decision 12 months ago to shift our sales focus and change the conversation, asking questions of our customer in terms of a mobility strategy.”