Education Minister Anne Tolley made a commitment to provide all schools with access to ultra-fast broadband at ULearn today. ULearn09 is an educational conference in Christchurch focusing on innovative teaching and learning for the 21st century that attracts about 2000 delegates and features 400 national and international speakers. Christchurch-based educational research and development organisation CORE Education runs ULearn 09, which started today and ends on Friday (October 9). Minister Tolley told the 2000 delegates the Government was committed to providing ultra-fast broadband to all New Zealanders, and lifting educational achievements for all students.
Schools connected to ultra-fast broadband will provide a critical initial base to anchor the development of the fibre network, she said. CORE Education's e-learning director Derek Wenmoth said today's announcement would create an environment in which schools can achieve their 21st century aspirations. Because of the lack of fast broadband currently New Zealand schools were behind many other countries in this area. It was also significant that this project has cross Government support. A feature of the ULearn conference is the provision of a wireless 'blanket' across the seven venues used, providing delegates with access to a broadband network operating at 10Gb speeds, providing them with a taste of what will be possible when such a network is implemented through the country. The Minister also made a commitment to join more schools to the national education network trial, and to upgrading school networks including the school door to the school gate.