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Progress report: provision of distance-learning resources

08 May 2020

The Ministry of Education has released an update on the distance learning resources that have been delivered to schools, whānau and students during the COVID-19 restrictions.

“Working in partnership with schools and other providers to deliver a variety of distance learning resources at pace and under challenging circumstances has been an enormous undertaking,” says Ellen MacGregor-Reid, Deputy Secretary, Early Learning and Student Achievement.

“Our aim in providing this range of tailored resources has been to ensure that every child and young person has at least one channel for learning while they have not been able to attend school or early learning.”

As at the end of Thursday 7 May the Ministry has:

  • arranged almost 18,000 internet connections for student households without connectivity
  • shipped 12,292 laptops and Chromebooks to students (and in addition, schools have shipped from their own stocks 15,416 computers to students)
  • despatched over 230,000 packs of printed learning materials to age groups from early learning through NCEA, including in Māori medium
  • worked with partners to deliver televised lessons in both English and te reo Māori, achieving more than two million views
  • arranged professional learning and development (PLD) at over 900 schools since the COVID PLD support package was launched in late March.

“It has not been possible to meet every need, so we have concentrated our resources on meeting the greatest needs first and as fast as we can within the constraints of Alert Levels 3 and 4.

A particular pinch point has been that due to limitations with global supply, it has not been possible to meet demand for computers all at once.

The priority for Ministry-sourced computers has been, in order, Year 12, Year 13, and then Year 11 students – and within each of those years, Decile 1, Decile 2, Decile 3, and so on through the rankings.

Our priorities reflect the Government’s desire to minimise disruption for learners working towards a qualification, and the effectiveness of online teaching and learning for this age group.

Nationally, we have now filled all demand for laptops for Year 12 students in Deciles 1 to 3 (apart from any new orders that may come in), so we are now moving through the decile range for Year 12 students in Deciles 4 to 10, and will then prioritise Year 13, followed by Year 11. We have temporarily exhausted the warehouse stock of laptops, but new stock landed in New Zealand earlier this week.

“We are very proud of what the partnership between schools, telecommunications networks, internet service providers and the Ministry has been able to achieve for students, ākonga and whānau in these difficult circumstances,” says Ellen MacGregor-Reid, Deputy Secretary, Early Learning and Student Achievement.

Note: Most secondary schools require Windows laptops, which are in shorter supply than Chromebooks. Some Chromebooks have been sent to students who are in other than Years 11-13 at lower-decile schools; otherwise, the Ministry would be holding on to devices that would be useful to those students.

See all Learning from Home updates