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Government announces $20 million technology access fund for tertiary learners

Government announces $20 million technology access fund for tertiary learners

Last updated 2 May 2020
Last updated 2 May 2020
  • A $20 million Technology Access Fund for Learners will be available to tertiary organisations to help their learners continue their education disrupted by COVID-19.
  • Tertiary education organisations can access the fund on the condition that they will prioritise vulnerable learners.

Education Minister Hon Chris Hipkins today announced a $20 million fund to help eligible tertiary learners continue their education disrupted by COVID-19.

The fund, called the Technology Access Fund for Learners (TAFL), will help make digital devices and internet connections available to eligible learners.

“While online learning is being undertaken by tertiary organisations in response to Covid-19, many students don’t have the appropriate devices, internet connections and related support to access technology-enabled learning,” says Minister Hipkins.

“The Government wants to ensure students in need can access support for online learning as soon as possible so they can continue their studies with minimal disruption,” Minister Hipkins says.

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

According to Minister Hipkins, the fund will be available to tertiary education organisations on the condition that they ensure vulnerable learners are prioritised (see other conditions and eligibility criteria).

“Tertiary providers are best placed to work with their learners to identify those who are most vulnerable during this time.  

“As funding will not be given directly to learners, we encourage them to contact their tertiary provider to discuss what kind of technology support they require.”     

The New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST) will distribute funding to its 16 subsidiaries. 

The NZIST was formed on 1 April as part of the Reform of Vocational Education and will be New Zealand's leading provider of on-the-job, on-campus and online learning.

See details on how to access the fund.

See FAQs for tertiary education organisations.

See FAQs for learners.

See list of TEOs who received TAFL.