Digital profiles similar to Facebook will be developed for high school students to access online learning and their exam results.

Development of the "digital identities" is expected to cost $20 million and was announced this morning as part of a $214 million education funding package which will also help schools cover costs from the pandemic, continue construction and bolstering a centralised ICT system.

The money is coming from the Covid-19 response and recovery fund.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said he expected the digital identities to work "a little bit" like a Facebook or Google profile and will allow high school students to use one log-in to access various websites and services, including their exam results.


The profiles would support the roll-out of NCEA Online which is on track to allow at least two-thirds of exams to be delivered digitally by 2022, Hipkins said.

"On top of that, the Government is bolstering centralised ICT and cyber security support to give all state and state-integrated schools the option to sign up. This will reduce the burden on individual schools to provide the support and upgrades themselves."

The upgrade to the school ICT network and services is expected to cost $49 million over four years.

The biggest chunk of the $214 million package announced this morning was the $107 million set aside for construction companies contracted to build and upgrade schools.

The contingency funding is available through the Ministry of Education and Hipkins said he encouraged businesses to submit claims if they needed to.

"It's really important that the construction industry is supported through the pandemic."

Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced a further $214 million for the education sector. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced a further $214 million for the education sector. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Hipkins said a thriving building and construction sector "is key" to New Zealand's economic recovery.

"The investments announced today are about future-proofing the country's schools and businesses that help build and upgrade our schools. It will go some way towards setting up the system to be able to withstand tomorrow's challenges."


Another chunk of the package is the $38 million which will go to schools to help them cover additional costs they faced related to the Covid-19 response, like extra cleaning, more relief teachers to cover sick leave and hand sanitiser.

"The funding also supports more than 500 small schools around the country who have teaching principals.

"This additional funding enables those school leaders to access additional staffing or other supports to support their management the Covid-19 response."

The funding will also go towards continuing the Hostel Wage Subsidy Scheme until the end of Term 3 for state and state-integrated schools with boarding students who haven't returned yet.