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$20m fund to help tertiary students learn online

Education Minister Chris Hipkins. File image/SunLive.

A $20 million fund has been anounced to help eligible tertiary learners access digital devices and internet connections to continue their study disrupted by COVID-19.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins says the government wants to make sure students in need can access support for distance learning so they can continue their studies.  

“Many programmes are being delivered online in response to COVID-19, including courses like carpentry that are traditionally delivered on-the-job. As we rebuild the economy, we need a skilled workforce to keep our sectors such as construction moving forward.”

A recent survey by the Tertiary Education Commission and New Zealand Qualifications Authority shows at least 11,150 learners do not have the right devices to engage in distance learning and at least 11,350 learners do not have access to broadband internet at home.

“We moved swiftly to help cover extra costs, by increasing the student loan amount available for course-related costs for full-time students from $1,000 to $2,000, on a temporary basis,” says Chris.

“Now we have set up a fund that tertiary education organisations can access including Wānanga, the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology and its subsidiaries, universities, transitional industry training organisations and private training establishments.

“Tertiary providers are best placed to work with their learners to identify those who are most in need during this time. Learners should contact their tertiary provider to discuss what kind of support they require.”

The NZIST will distribute funding to its 16 subsidiaries. The NZIST was formed on April 1 as part of the Reform of Vocational Education, providing on-the-job, on-campus and online learning.

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