UFB boon to rural polytechs

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English yesterday addresses Telford Polytechnic staff about the future...
Deputy Prime Minister Bill English yesterday addresses Telford Polytechnic staff about the future of fibre optic broadband. Photo by Craig Baxter.
The tyranny of distance learning was over and only opportunities remained, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English told Telford Polytechnic staff in Balclutha yesterday.

The imminent roll-out of fibre optic broadband would revolutionise rural polytechnics such as Telford and, ultimately, the primary sector, he said.

''The primary industry has to take responsibility for its own workforce and development. It's not the Government's job to develop the workforce.

''We've spent 20 years trying to make distance learning work, with increasing success. We've limited our thinking about some things, because of the technology barriers. But there are no longer technology barriers to high-volume, high-spec video.''

Guests at the morning tea included Lincoln University assistant vice-chancellor of academic programmes and student experience Prof Sheelagh Matear and Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan.

Telford, a division of Lincoln University, was now connected to 169 schools, its director, Associate Prof Charles Lamb, said.

''The opportunities that can come from this are immense. It gives students access to more information and makes the Lincoln hub more attractive to high-quality staff and students.''

- nigel.benson@odt.co.nz

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