Education Minister Anne Tolley has announced that a dedicated nationwide online network for New Zealand schools will be developed, to ensure that teaching and learning is at the forefront of global educational developments and makes the most of new technology.

The safe, secure system, called the Network for Learning, is estimated to cost between $300 -$400 million over the next 10 years, and will provide high-quality educational content and resources to schools and students, to help lift achievement for young New Zealanders wherever they are across the country.

The Network for Learning, which will be available from 2013, will also simplify and substantially reduce costs for schools accessing ICT content and services, including the cost of internet connections.

“This is hugely exciting for education in New Zealand,” says Mrs Tolley.

“The scale and complexity of the Network for Learning is enormous – with potentially over 2500 schools and more than 800,000 users this will be the biggest network of its kind in the country.

“The Network for Learning will ensure that schools get the most from their ultra-fast broadband connection, and will provide them with affordable access to the latest ICT teaching and learning developments.

“Location will no longer be a barrier for accessing courses. For the very first time every rural and urban school will be able to connect with each other to collaborate and share resources and best practice. For example, a student at a small rural school could take part in a specialist teaching class via state of the art video-conferencing with a large city school.

“Importantly, the Network for Learning will provide a safe and reliable environment, and will also allow schools to share information with parents.

“The benefits for students, families and teachers will be tremendous and we will work closely with the education sector to make sure it delivers the lift in achievement levels that our young people deserve and that parents want for their children.”

The Ministry of Education is working on the next steps for procuring the technical network, and determining how the Network for Learning will be governed and managed.

The Network is expected to be progressively available to schools from 2013. An update on progress will be provided in early 2012.

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