REMOTE classrooms stuck in digital detention are about to get a system reboot - with government set to plug in a $46 million budget booster for school internet.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro will this morning unveil the $46 million Connecting Country Schools program, to upgrade wifi and connectivity at more than 900 regional and remote NSW schools.
Poor internet access and speed is the bane of many rural and remote parents, students and teachers – and a key issue lobby groups such as the Isolated Children’s Parents Association.
Mr Barilaro said no school should miss out on good internet.
“You shouldn’t have to go to school in Sydney to have access to fast and reliable online learning resources and this investment ensures no school community in regional NSW misses out,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The NSW Government is backing our country kids and ensuring they are given every opportunity to succeed at school – because they deserve nothing less.”
Assistant Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said work on the four-year program will begin at three pilot schools – Urunga Public School, Grafton High School and Whian Whian Public School – before the full rollout begins in September.
“This investment ensures no school community in regional NSW misses out because the students in Bourke have every right to use the same learning tools as their counterparts in Bondi,” Mrs Mitchell said.
“The pilot program will run until the end of September, and then will be rolled out to more than 900 schools and 13,000 learning spaces.”
Connecting Country Schools facts
- $46 million initiative to improve wireless and internet access over four years
- 914 regional and remote NSW public schools
- 13,000 learning spaces including some of the most isolated schools in the states
- Standardised, centrally monitored and well supported equipment, with a base level of two Wireless Access Points per learning space
- An additional discretionary allocation for schools to use in areas such as gyms or outdoor spaces to meet local needs
- Improved underpinning infrastructure and remediation of local area networks with additional targeted support for schools that rely on satellite services
- Improved access to resources including the Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suites and Google Apps for Education
- In addition to the pilot, work will begin to schedule internet upgrades for very remote schools.
Once a school has been upgraded, they will be able to apply for additional funds from an innovation fund to maximise the use of the capability within their school and their community.