Now that all publicly-funded schools in Guelph have been outfitted with high speed internet, the province’s minister of Education says a total of 850 schools in the province will be similarly connected by the year 2021.
The announcement was made Wednesday by Indira Naidoo-Harris, minister of Education, at Bishop Macdonell Catholic High School.
The total cost of the broadband internet project is estimated at $90 million.
Naidoo-Harris toured a Grade 11 Functions class at Bishop Macdonell, where students learn a combination of coding and mathematics.
Publically-funded schools in Guelph were among the initial 181 schools in which high speed internet was installed as Wave 1 of the project.
As a result, internet in area schools is now about 20 times faster than it was, said Brent MacDonald, superintendent of Education at Upper Grand District School Board.
So far, 99 schools within Guelph have met the target of 1 Megabit per second per student, affecting about 41,000 students in total..
Prior to the May 2017 roll out of the program, MacDonald said students and teachers were finding it difficult to access the internet en masse.
“When we came to events where an entire board or school may need to access something, whether it is for online testing or whatever it may be, we were really having to scramble to make sure we had it in place and getting people to dial back in all sorts of areas,” said MacDonald.
He added, “since Wave 1 has been completed in our district, that has disappeared.”
Students have been able to engage with more digital learning resources to help them to acquire important skills in math, science, technology and coding, said Marino Gazzola, board chair of the Wellington Catholic District School Board.
“This is a critical investment in our students’ futures, preparing them for success in a rapidly changing global world, “ said Gazzola.
The second wave will bring Ontario one step closer to an education system that provides all students in the province the tools and resources to reach their full potential, said Naidoo-Harris.
“I am pleased with the progress our government is making to provide students with safe and equitable access to broadband, no matter where they live,” said Naidoo-Harris.