Network for Learning (N4L) the government company set up to provide a managed network for New Zealand’s schools says it has completed its rollout, with 2431 schools now connected.
The announcement comes two years after rollout started and a year almost to the day after Computerworld reported N4L achieving connectivity to 90 percent of New Zealand schools.
Education Minister, Hekia Parata, welcomed completion of the $211 million network saying: “This is about providing schools and students across New Zealand with access to the vast world of learning resources available online.With the rollout completed, more than 789,000 students and teachers are using the N4L Managed Network for learning.”
She added: “This was a very successful project given it involved a large-scale rollout that was completed ahead of schedule and within budget. … N4L’s focus will now turn to enhancing services and developing new platforms to help schools make the most of their digital connections.”
N4L CEO John Hanna said completion of the rollout to all schools was only “the end of the beginning” and that there was “plenty of work to do in the coming years to ensure that every school-aged New Zealand child continues to have equitable access to the technologies they need for learning, regardless of where they live or go to school.”
According to Hanna, “The use of digital technologies in schools is increasing, as is the complexity around providing anytime, anywhere learning. Our job is to reduce this complexity for schools, making sure teachers and students can get on with great learning.”
N4L attributed the success of its network rollout to its collaborative approach to doing business. “The company works alongside schools, government and key technology partners, especially Spark, to deliver its services in a way that caters to the needs of individual schools, while planning for their growing use of technology,” it said.
“Feedback given to the company by its partners has been overwhelmingly positive, with schools indicating their increased confidence in implementing their school’s digital learning strategy since connecting to N4L’s Managed Network.”
N4L had its genesis in 2011 when then education minister, Anne Tolley, announced plans for a dedicated nationwide online network for New Zealand schools to be rolled out starting in 2013 at a cost estimated to be between $300-$400 million over 10 years to provide high-quality educational content and resources to schools and students.
The current minister, Hekia Parata, announced the formation of N4L as a crown-owned company in June 2012.