The Ministry of Education has asked for input from network and services suppliers for a managed network of ICT services, content and applications, as it builds up to an expected request for proposal document mid next year. According to an RFI document, The Ministry says current network connectivity issues are limiting progress toward normalisation of ICT in schools, and says demand for bandwidth is growing as schools adopt e-learning approaches. It also says low bandwidth and the cost of traffic are restricting performance and uptake of cloud services for schools. It also points to an increase in internet use, particularly involving video The Ministry says schools select and manage their own learning and administrative systems currently, but have varying capability to carry this out effectively. Issues they have experienced are poor system selection, sub-optimal configuration and high maintenance and management costs. Problems typically experienced are poor system selection, sub-optimal configuration and relatively high maintenance and management costs. These can lead to increased system failure rates, system recovery times, teacher administration time and diversion of resources to ICT support. The Managed Network for Schools that the Ministry is considering would be an IP-based network built on a range of physical networks provided by fibre companies, the Rural Broadband Initiative, and the existing access fibre infrastructure, integrated by regional and national backhaul networks, according to RFI documents. To date, the Ministry has upgraded 500 schools under the School Network Upgrade Project, part of the Broadband in Schools programme, and plans to upgrade the remaining 1700 by the end of 2016. The Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand has been testing the architectural principles of a national education network using Karen since 2008. The Ministry has contracts in place with Renaissance, Novell and Datacom for software licensing and support for Apple, Novell, Symantec and Microsoft technology, and with Telecom, Watchdog and Websense for web filtering and firewalls. The deadline for RFI responses is 17 December.
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