Principals describe Government's $87m IT equipment scheme as waste of money

Principals are describing an $87 million scheme to provide school students with IT equipment over the lockdown as a frustrating waste of money. 

Hundreds of unwanted modems and laptops are still being delivered to wealthy schools, while some low-decile students completely missed out.

All students at Auckland Grammar School - which is decile 9 - had internet by the time at-home learning began. But principal Tim O'Connor says the Ministry of Education sent more than 130 modems anyway and there's more due to arrive.

"We really don't understand why we are receiving them," he told Newshub.

"They are all individually named for students and their family to receive, but the parents who we have contacted so far have said 'we have the internet, we don't need a modem'."

That left a sour taste in the mouth of Aorere College principal Greg Pierce who did have many families without internet or laptops.

"One does wonder if the line was drawn in the right place for which schools."

The co-ed school in Papatoetoe is decile 2. It ordered 430 laptops for students to learn from home, but only 73 were delivered during lockdown.

"It was really frustrating because we knew that every day students weren't getting devices - they were falling behind in their learning," he says.

The Ministry of Education says it has connected more than 51,000 households to the internet, but admits the scale and speed of the IT roll-out meant it didn't always get it right.