'Remote' school seeks enhanced telephony

'Remote' school seeks enhanced telephony

The Correspondence School plans to improve and outsource its telephone services, in the cause of improving contact with and between its staff and students.

The school has initially issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for an off-site PABX system to replace its current Ericsson MD110 PABX, but indicates the potential for further work. The successful bidder will become its “primary source of telephony services”, the RFP says.

The system sought is to have full Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) capability and integration with the school’s desktop PCs and software. Unified Communications support is specified including integration with Microsoft and Macintosh workstations and mobile services. Bidders are asked to indicate “options” for integration with the school’s student management system, based on Redhat 5, an Oracle 10g database and Microsoft CRM.

While telephony services will be provided in outsourced mode, the Wellington head office and regional hubs should be able to continue with local telephone service if the link to the provider is broken, the RFP says – an architecture known as a “survivable gateway”.

Recently renamed Te Aho o te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura for short), the Correspondence School is this country’s largest school with more than 24,000 students enrolled each year. Its strategic plan for 2010 to 2012 signals a more student-centred and “virtual” operation, enabling students and teachers to contact one another easily when required and access educational materials independent of their physical location.

The RFP and strategy documents emphasise an increase in the independent strength of the school’s regional operations.

The period for response to the RFP closes on February 18.

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