Coronavirus: Some modems possibly 'misaddressed' in device rollout - Ministry of Education

It's "possible" some electronic devices were "misaddressed" after being sent out to school students as part of an $87 million Government package to help students learn from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Education developed the package to ensure school students could continue to learn at home when term two began on April 15. Internet service providers have been working with the Government to deliver modems to households that need them.

But Newshub has become aware that some people who received modems didn't require one. 

"Wi-Fi routers, including six months' internet service paid for by the Ministry of Education, are being sent to some student households without internet connections," ministry chief digital officer Stuart Wakefield says.

"It is possible that among the 18,000 shipments underway by last Tuesday (and more since) some packages were misaddressed or misdelivered."

Wakefield says the ministry would be grateful if any misdirected electronic devices could be returned.

"We are keen for them to be made available to other families."

He said routers should have been shipped with delivery instructions, including how to return unwanted devices.

Spark, which is working with the Government in delivering the school's support package, directed comments to the Ministry of Education.

Close-up of computer modem cable
Photo credit: File

What support are students getting?

Before the package was announced, it was revealed there were about 350 students where there is currently no internet potential of any kind, and the Government is exploring the possibility of satellite coverage for those households.

"It's important to reinforce upfront that the Government is still working to a timeframe of a four-week level 4 lockdown but we're planning for every scenario," Education Minister Chris Hipkins said earlier this month.

"That means, in education, developing robust distance learning infrastructure and a more resilient system so that learners can receive education in any scenario.

"Where we are unable to immediately connect a household with the Internet or get a device to a student, we will be working with schools and Kura to provide hard-copy learning materials direct to homes."