Monday 14 May 2007
Clever Networks delivers smart solutions for regional education
The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, today announced $1.1 million in Australian Government funding to TAFE SA Regional Institute for their Clever Training project, under the first round of the Clever Networks program.
TAFE SA Regional Institute’s Clever Training project will use advanced broadband technology to break down the barrier of distance that limits access to technical education for around 3,377 students. TAFE SA estimates that the project’s new videoconference technology will provide opportunities for twice as many students in an assortment of courses.
The TAFE SA Regional Institute will contribute $1.8 million to the project, taking the total project cost to $2.9 million. TAFE SA advises that Clever Training will be operational from the beginning of 1 st semester, in February 2008.
“Many residents in regional, rural and remote South Australia—especially those on the land or operating small businesses—cannot undertake TAFE education because of travel time, costs and the difficulty of finding replacement staff,” Senator Coonan said.
“Some campuses are often only open on a part-time basis and the cost of petrol and lack of access to alternative transport options can make attendance an expensive exercise,” Senator Coonan said.
“With the development of new technologies, we are seeing more and more examples of rural and regional areas around Australia having access to education facilities and teaching, equivalent to those available in major capital cities.
“And thanks to this innovative Clever Training project, students living in regional, rural and remote areas of SA will be able to access classes through video-conferencing at their homes or businesses, using either a PC or 3G videophone.”
TAFE SA Regional Institute has 32 campuses and nine study centres spread across 980,000 square kilometres of regional South Australia.
“The Clever Training project will be initiated by a lecturer emailing students the time and date of a particular class,” Senator Coonan said.
“When each class begins, students can either click on the link in the email or visit a web page to join the videoconference session. Students will then participate in an interactive, live training session with the lecturer and with other students who are scheduled to take part in the class.”
“TAFE SA Regional Institute has used video-conferencing technology in its classes since 1990. However until now, students have needed to attend a TAFE campus to access this facility.
“This project is truly innovative and will vastly improve access for students, making it easier for all to get the best out of their classes.”
The implementation of the current videoconferencing network increased significantly the number of students undertaking vocational training with almost four times the number of students completing certificates as had done so previously.
Clever Networks is a $113 million Australian Government program that delivers smart solutions to improve delivery of services in regional, rural and remote Australia through innovative broadband projects.
More information about Clever Networks is available at www.dcita.gov.au/clevernetworks
Media Contact: Fiona Telford - 02 6277 7480