Two Otago schools in launch of broadband

Gavin Kidd
Gavin Kidd
Two Otago schools - Maniototo Area School in Ranfurly and The Catlins Area School in Owaka - are among the first in the country to get a share of a government-funded $34 million ultra-fast broadband launch.

The schools are among 14 yesterday confirmed as part of a $5 million upgrade of their information communication technology (ICT) infrastructure.

The Government is planning to spend $34 million to boost broadband and computer technology to schools around the country.

The news is a big boost to the chances of the Catlins school as it waits to see if it gets one of five spots to become an online trade academy. Principal Gavin Kidd commended the Government for deciding to invest money and technology into the Catlins.

"We congratulate the Government on their willingness to ensure that students at remote schools and communities such as ours are not disadvantaged from participating fully in elearning opportunities . . . this will ensure we are on the global forefront for technology in both primary and secondary education."

Deputy principal Allan Jon, who has been involved in the school's push to become an online trade academy, said the announcement was a fantastic opportunity for the people of the Catlins to gain such an important communications resource for the district.

Maniototo Area School principal Peter Heron said it was exciting to be one of 14 schools nationwide to get the broadband boost. Maniototo was also one of 11 schools picked last month to trial a new information technology network.

He hoped the new networks would be ready for the start of the 2010 school year and it could allow broadband to be expanded in the Ranfurly area.

In a joint statement, Education Minister Anne Tolley and Communications and Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce said the investment was critical for New Zealand's future.

It is not yet known when the upgrades will begin. More schools will be announced early next year.


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