Five years ago, we were asked to make sure every student in New Zealand could access safe, fast, reliable and uncapped internet, no matter where they lived or went to school in this country.
In response, we built the Managed Network and now we have more than 811,000 students and teachers using it across 2400+ schools for their learning.
Today, well over two petabytes of data pass through our network every month and we’ve prevented more than 180 million online security threats from reaching schools over that same period.
We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved so far and even more proud that schools are embracing the digital services we provide.
But there are challenges ahead and we will continue to work closely with our partners in government, technology and education to find solutions for these challenges.
We need to prepare the Managed Network for the future – removing speed constraints and simplifying technology in schools – especially for those in rural and isolated locations.
In addition, we know that learning in the 21st century is not confined to school hours or school premises. The proliferation of internet connected devices in homes means that some students have access to the devices and internet connectivity at home – but others do not and those students are more likely to be disadvantaged in other areas as well.
The three initiatives announced by Chorus last week is just one example of our work in finding solutions. They support our journey and aspiration toward ensuring every school-aged child has the opportunity to participate in high quality digitally-enabled learning.
Myself, Chorus CEO Kate McKenzie and Haeata Community Campus Principal Andy Kai Fong
We are very excited to be working with Chorus on these initiatives, which will:
- Make it easier for schools to upgrade to bigger connection speeds (of 1Gbps);
- Make it more practical to use bandwidth-hungry learning technologies in the classroom (by getting fibre direct to every classroom in lieu of having to share one connection via wi-fi access points); and
- Allow students attending Haeata Community Campus to log on to the Managed Network from their homes so they can access the same safe (filtered) and uncapped online learning environment they do at school. This is a pilot we are trialling in an small area close to the school using Chorus’ existing street and network infrastructure.
It’s early days and we’ll be working closely with all our key partners to provide these initiatives to schools. There are a number of organisations who work together to support N4L in the delivery of our mission and I’d like to shout out to all those involved, including:
- The Ministry of Education, for providing N4L with the opportunity to make a difference to education in New Zealand,
- Spark, our strategic partner in the delivery of the Managed Network,
- Chorus for the innovation they are delivering with N4L and the significant investment they are making to support education in New Zealand
- The many local IT companies we work with, who support schools with their internal technology needs.
Andy Kai Fong sharing his story
at an event hosted by Chorus to announce the pilot for his school
Specifically for the Haeata initiative, I’d like to acknowledge:
- The Greater Christchurch Schools Network Trust, which have programmes to support access to the internet and to devices, in home, for all students,
- The Principal of Haeata Community Campus, Andy Kai Fong, who says this trial will be a ‘game-changer’ for his students.
We look forward to the busy months ahead!