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NZ General Chat Thread, Funding in New Zealand (NZ) Specific Forums; Hi all. Just a question/discussion on government funding for ICT in NZ Schools. Reading 'Interface' magazine today (Issue 16, term ...
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    Funding

    Hi all.

    Just a question/discussion on government funding for ICT in NZ Schools. Reading 'Interface' magazine today (Issue 16, term 2), I see the front page article on bulk buying for school's ICT. In the article, Anne Tolley talks about $150 Million being available over the next 3 years for "Upgrading ICT Infrastructure" and further down the article Douglas Harre is quoted as saying that $34 Million is available for "Network upgrades", available as of the 1st July.

    Does anyone know what this really means? How do we get access to this funding? What are the pre-requisites of a school to get funding? Or am I jumping the gun and it hasn't been officially decided yet?

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    First off where did you get the interface magazine, is it education based and, does the school have a subscription?

    Back on topic, the funding so far has been a rather bad joke played out by the MoE. A year of so ago schools were asked to complete a survey to assess their networks and infrastructure, at the end of this the worst schools (read the ones who had not bothered) were given full funding and contracted help to install propper networks including cableing and switching (up to a high standard).

    TKI - The ICT Helpdesk - About the ICT Helpdesk
    31 March 2007 – Stage 2 of the School Network Upgrade Project
    Stage 1 of the School Network Upgrade project has now been completed successfully. Around 330 small schools have had a school-wide network installed since the project began in September 2005.
    The Ministry of Education has received further funding to commence Stage 2. Schools in this round have rolls between 130 and 260 and have little or no network infrastructure. The expectation is to assist around 70 schools to upgrade their networks.
    This initiative will help teachers and students in these schools have a reliable and stable network. This is required to support the widening range of ICT initiatives in the classroom and administration area.
    The story goes that once that lot had been done they would progressivly reward/fund the worst schools untill the money ran out. This new batch of funding could be included in that or could be separate but if the funding model stays the same most of it will end up in schools that are rather technology adverse and may sit largely dormant.

    Edit: Found the link to the magazine site http://www.interfacemagazine.co.nz/index.cfm and realize that I have seen it once before, but have not seen it since.

    Double Edit:
    Found the actual article: http://www.interfaceonline.co.nz/art...m?c_id=&id=131

    I looks like it is for broadband funding for schools, no idea how to tap into it as yet or whether it will be avalible for us or distributed as above. I will be telling the principals at a couple of my schools to resubmit their local fibre loop submissions though incase they get read by the appropriate people.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 3rd June 2009 at 06:22 AM.

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    earlyriser's Avatar
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    Thanks SYNACK. I know a little about the funding for small schools as a rural school I used to support managed to get basically a brand new network excluding servers, for not very much money as part of that scheme.

    I was kind of hoping that this was a completely new round of funding but having read what you have said, and talked to some others, it would seem to be, like you said a contiuation of the feeding of the small, poor or lazy schools first.

    I'm going to ring Douglas Harre tomorrow so will let you know what I find out, if anything...

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    Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story..:-)

    Douglas Harre here.....:-)

    A few observations

    a) the Interface front page story is incorrect re the $150m and I have spoken to them about that (not for the first time). The $150m is not being spent over 3 years, but over 6-7 (depends on how the Minister of Finance wants to apportion it - which is what Ministers of Finance do). The $34m was announced on Feb 11 as part of the $480m stimulus package announcded by the PM. It becomes available to the MoE on July 1 as that's the start of the new FY.

    b) The funding is being provided by the govt. "to make schools ready for ultra-fast broadband". That is, its tied into the government's $$1.5Billion fibre-based broadband rollout that is projected to begin in ealry 2010. Being as how the role of the public service is to implement the policies of the governemnt of the day - that's what we are doing - getting schools prepared. So what assistance do you need?

    See this:

    Beehive - School broadband given boost in Budget

    c) Starting from the bottom up - Early riser - the sequence for rolllout of fibre has not been decided (I assume you are keeping up with all that in the media or on the MED website) , so neither has ours. It is likely that schools that are involved in other MoE projects may be prioritsed - ie. those that support the new govts. other current education priorities. As with the previous project (more about that below) it is unlikely we will be handing that money direct to schools - this will be like TELA or MS software - overseen by the MoE and carried out by local people).

    d) SYNACK - not quite sure why you see this as "a bad joke". The MoE and the 480 schools we have just completed from Stewart Island, the Chathams, Gt Barrier Island right up through NZ to the tip of Northland think its fantastic.

    The survey was carried out across all schools in the second half of 2004 - five years ago. Every school was rated from 0 to 5 (zero being no network and 5 being excellent). We had over 500 schools with no networks (not poor networks, but none). Most of these were smaller rural primary schools with little access to expertse or the levels of funding required to install a professionl-grade network. That rollout was also designed to fit in with Project PROBE - a $48m investment in rural broadband that was completed in Sept 2005. The survey was used to prioritise all schools in NZ for upgrades. As we only had $16m to spend we had to do schools in some order. Before we started we looked at similar projects in the USA/Aust and Canada. Advice from all our colleagues in those countries was to do schools with nothing rather than trying to fix existing school networks. So thats what we did..:-)

    The funding model was NOT "full funding" as you say in your post. We offered schools a network upgrade and we paid a % based on their rollsize. Schools with less than 77 pupils we paid 80%. 78-180 - 75% and over 181 - 50% (rolls sizes are quartiles for NZ schools). Schools were invited - many (about 180) turned it down, so concerns about upgrades for technology averse schools werent really a problem as they obviously had no need for what we were offering (8 data outlets per class/16 power outlets/switching/server etc).....interestingly takeup rates at the 50% level were as high as those at 80%. Schools who wanted it took it up, those who didn't - didn't.

    We completed around 480 schools by the time the funding ran out in mid 08. The new govt has provided new funding and have offered a funding level back at the 80% subsidy rate which is very good (well I think it is but YMMV).

    I also look after all the local loops (fromn the MOE viewpoint) so can give you additional info on that if you want. Have done presentations to Chch/Auckland/Wellingotn/Hamilton schools/principals in the last month on that very topic. Sixty people in Wellingotn last week and Napier later in July. There's a lot of interest out there about all this - especially about the National Education trial we have been running since last year. I would suggest that schools who think that they are going to be getting local loop funding have not been reading the papers...:-)

    e) Early riser - back to you - interested in your statement that you got a new network but no server? As you know we offered a server with every network so whats up there? Did they already have one?

    Contrary to what you have said - this IS a completely new round of funding. We have a new government...:-)). This is all NEW capital money to support the new fibre rollout. As such this funding is aimed at those schools that are in the govts target group for the ultrafast broadband rollout (which i assume you are familair with). So it is not a continuation of the group that you referred to.


    f) So DID you call me and find out whats happening?

    g) if you tell me what schools you are at I can let you know if you are likely to be getting assistance...:-)

    HTH

    cheers,

    Douglas

  5. Thanks to dharre49 from:

    SYNACK (27th June 2009)

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    earlyriser's Avatar
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    Thanks Douglas. I haven't called yet, but I will now. Personally my problem is that as part of a new job of Network Manager at Otago Girls' in Dunedin, I have inherited an ageing server and network infrastructure. The board have found money for server upgrades that I am putting in place now, but as always this is only part of the issue. We are despatately short of cabling and decent switching gear, and the school is relying heavily on wireless, which in turn is adding to issues with Musac and network problems in general. We need upgrades to our internal infrastructure equally, or more so than any upgrades to high speed fibre broadband. Good to see you on here anyway.

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    Thanks for your reply Douglas, great to see you on here.

    Quote Originally Posted by dharre49 View Post
    d) SYNACK - not quite sure why you see this as "a bad joke". The MoE and the 480 schools we have just completed from Stewart Island, the Chathams, Gt Barrier Island right up through NZ to the tip of Northland think its fantastic.

    The survey was carried out across all schools in the second half of 2004 - five years ago. Every school was rated from 0 to 5 (zero being no network and 5 being excellent). We had over 500 schools with no networks (not poor networks, but none). Most of these were smaller rural primary schools with little access to expertse or the levels of funding required to install a professionl-grade network. That rollout was also designed to fit in with Project PROBE - a $48m investment in rural broadband that was completed in Sept 2005. The survey was used to prioritise all schools in NZ for upgrades. As we only had $16m to spend we had to do schools in some order. Before we started we looked at similar projects in the USA/Aust and Canada. Advice from all our colleagues in those countries was to do schools with nothing rather than trying to fix existing school networks. So thats what we did..:-)

    The funding model was NOT "full funding" as you say in your post. We offered schools a network upgrade and we paid a % based on their rollsize. Schools with less than 77 pupils we paid 80%. 78-180 - 75% and over 181 - 50% (rolls sizes are quartiles for NZ schools). Schools were invited - many (about 180) turned it down, so concerns about upgrades for technology averse schools werent really a problem as they obviously had no need for what we were offering (8 data outlets per class/16 power outlets/switching/server etc).....interestingly takeup rates at the 50% level were as high as those at 80%. Schools who wanted it took it up, those who didn't - didn't.

    We completed around 480 schools by the time the funding ran out in mid 08. The new govt has provided new funding and have offered a funding level back at the 80% subsidy rate which is very good (well I think it is but YMMV).
    Eeek that survey was in 2004, time does fly. Anyhow, apologies if my post sounded a little harsh. From my viewpoint at the time there were great promises made about the involvement of the MoE to help bring IT up to standard in NZ schools. Many of the initiatives were/are great, the Microsoft, Apple, Surfcontrol and CA Deals for instance which I do hope are being continued? Anyhow these had a huge impact in the areas that I was involved in helping to tame the rather wild environment of primary school IT.

    A rather less stunning showing was the network infrastructure requirements/guidelines documents. These although a good and necessary idea became much weaker when they were reworded as recommendations rather than requirements. This was, if my memory is accurate followed shortly thereafter by the network survey which was billed - correctly - as a way to allocate resources to bring schools up to standard. My issues with it came after it was completed as there seemed to be very little feedback returned telling us where we stood. A while after that a short posting was issued on the - apparently now abandoned - TKI ICT helpdesk page which stated that a bunch of schools with very little IT had been chosen and were being upgraded by the ministry. At this time there was no further information that I could find with any of the details that you have just provided. I am certain that it was great for those particular schools and I am pleased to hear that it did require some contribution on their part.

    I have been in many different schools - even small rural ones - doing IT and helping out and most of these have made the effort to install some IT. I am aware that for some of the very small schools this may be a challenge or actually impossible and so I am happy that these schools were able to be assisted. My concerns were in schools that simply did not care being handed something than most of my schools have had to make a real sustained effort to achieve. In fact we still don't have the power point numbers that you quoted above.

    It would have been good if the grades were available somewhere to provide motivation/chastiseation to the schools involved.

    Quote Originally Posted by dharre49 View Post
    I also look after all the local loops (fromn the MOE viewpoint) so can give you additional info on that if you want. Have done presentations to Chch/Auckland/Wellingotn/Hamilton schools/principals in the last month on that very topic. Sixty people in Wellingotn last week and Napier later in July. There's a lot of interest out there about all this - especially about the National Education trial we have been running since last year. I would suggest that schools who think that they are going to be getting local loop funding have not been reading the papers...:-)
    The local fibre loop proposal that I was talking about was one that we had submitted before and as I could not find any further information as to the exact nature of the funding I suggested resubmitting it in case. Originally I figured that since the North Shore had got funding for a local loop we may as well give it a go as well but the response to this was not as positive as we had hoped.
    Quote Originally Posted by dharre49 View Post
    As such this funding is aimed at those schools that are in the govts target group for the ultrafast broadband rollout (which i assume you are familair with). So it is not a continuation of the group that you referred to.
    By the target group do you mean High Schools etc or are there a special group of chosen schools. You also said before that "schools that are involved in other MoE projects may be prioritised". Are you able to elaborate on the projects and possibly on how they were able to get involved?

    Quote Originally Posted by dharre49 View Post
    g) if you tell me what schools you are at I can let you know if you are likely to be getting assistance...:-)
    I shall send you a PM with the names of the schools that I am involved in

    While you are here and on the same topic I wonder if I could ask a few more questions. First up is it likely that the schools Microsoft deal will be renewed. If not we will need to plan a new budget for next year. Also when it comes to the MoE managed internet deal will there be any more licences for the Surfcontrol products allocated and more importantly for us will we be able to access any upgrades to the product?

    When I saw your username come up on the new users list I did wonder and I am glad that it did turn out to be the D Harre from the MoE.

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    Re: Funding

    See here for a press release on 14 schools that are getting network upgrades partially funded by the MOE

    If anyone can give me some clear advice on how a school applies for the next round of funding (as mentioned in the article to be announced early next year), please let me know. I have spent the last 3 months phoning and emailing Douglas Harre and the Ministry to be told that they are too busy to talk to us. Is there some mysterious group that we have to be a member of or a secret handshake that I just don't know?....

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    Just blowing on the embers of the NZ forum...

    Have finally had one school SNUP'ed after however may years and the electricians did a great job of making the cable they were allowed to put in reliable and tidy. Unfortunately we have ended up loosing cabled access to a lot of the rooms as the MoE's focus is now solely wireless and the companies they chose to implement are inflexible thanks to the ever changing rulings. The switches - Allied Telyson - which everyone stopped buying in 1997 are far more uppity than the hp gear we had before and actually make the network less reliable than before. The stuff they were authorized to do was very nice but I dispute the use of the term 'upgrade'.

    We have actually told SNUP (Schools Network Upgrade Project - or - Stealing Networks from Unsuspecting Primaries) where to go in one school as they wanted to rip out half of our wired infrastructure and replace an enterprise level core switch with a Small Business one.

    Their sole effort now is wireless and ripping copper out of walls. It is unfortunate but even in their golden age SNUP seemed to completely disregard the actual definition of the word 'upgrade'.
    @dharre49

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    Have done what they call "snup lite" with a school recently. Not too bad but the 3 months of support is not so good. The cabling contractor ran new cable for some of the APs but for others they just plugged into the nearest socket which the kids have figured out how to unplug.
    Ruckus seems not to want to let us use their support forum unless we pay for a premium support plan;

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    Quote Originally Posted by pdunford View Post
    Have done what they call "snup lite" with a school recently. Not too bad but the 3 months of support is not so good. The cabling contractor ran new cable for some of the APs but for others they just plugged into the nearest socket which the kids have figured out how to unplug.
    Ruckus seems not to want to let us use their support forum unless we pay for a premium support plan;





    I would be giving a the project managers a 'yell', if that is torque ip or tts as any wireless gear should have come with five years of support.



    With one school we were lucky enough to be able to tell them to get bent much to their protest but their plans were frankly idiotic - putting in a new small business type at switch in place of our enterprise grade core that is way superior and at their own admission met their spec. - that and they wanted to pull out almost half our cabling and that was with the eight port variant.



    The school that went SNUP has issues with some of the ports and their switches being junk in comparison to what we had and are putting back in. The switching they allocated left us short in several areas for just existing PCs.



    Unfortunately there is still one school that's network is that bad and the school is that tied up in the ministrys rubbish that they really have no choice but to have snup pull half their network. They will get wireless but two ports left per room. They suggest line splitters or adding wireless cards to most of the desktops, both stupid ideas prone to failure. We are a low desile school where byod is not practical and even if it was there is still a place for desktop pcs.



    SNUP has been poorly thought out and implemented the whole way through which is how you know the Moe came up with it.



    I'm just waiting for the first unconscious round of casualties from N4L from schools suckered in and to uninformed to know how bad the service is in comparison. One school I know of was bragging about their 30mbit download off the supposed 100mbit uncontested link. Comparatively we get 80mbits off our own 'contested' fibre. It is ridiculous.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 8th May 2014 at 03:22 PM.

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