The Government is investing the first $33.8 million of proceeds from the Future Investment Fund into upgrading school IT networks, says Education Minister Hekia Parata and Associate Education Minister Craig Foss.
This is part of the $1 billion ring-fenced in the fund for investing in the Government’s 21st Century Schools programme.
The fund is established in Budget 2012 to invest the $5 billion to $7 billion expected proceeds from the Government’s partial share sales of five SOEs.
“The Budget confirms that the first $33.8 million from the Future Investment Fund will be invested in upgrading IT networks, so all schools have access to ultra-fast broadband,” says Hekia.
“This investment will help to strengthen the delivery of education. The Government is committed to improving student achievement by building a world-leading education system that equips students with the knowledge, skills, and values to be successful in the 21st Century.
“New Zealand needs modern school property that provides the physical infrastructure, ICT, and environments that support the learning needs of all students.”
Craig says more money will be allocated to schools from the Future Investment Fund in future Budgets, after a significant nationwide review of school property management.
School property is the second-largest publicly owned estate, with a book value of $10.2 billion spread across more than 2,300 schools and 8,000 hectares.
“Given this significant investment, it is important we know school property is being managed effectively. Therefore, the Government is launching an independent review of how school property is provided and managed.”
The review will provide advice on where to invest and divest in school property, who should be responsible for maintaining school property, and the reporting needed to give ministers and the public assurance that the school property portfolio is being well managed.
“Addressing the current range of issues affecting the school property portfolio is estimated to cost $2.3 billion over the next decade.
“It’s imperative the Government has a clear and accurate picture of the status of school property.”
An external expert who is not currently associated with the school property portfolio will conduct the review. The review will result in a package of initiatives to be reported back by the end of 2012.
Source: Offices of Hekia Parata and Craig Foss.