Software makers warn that underfunding will push schools to use outdated and cheap computer programs, creating cybersecurity and privacy risks.
The Education Technology Association (EdTechNZ) said the government needs to increase funding for schools and training of teachers.
That is, many schools use free and poorly maintained programs.
EdTechNZ executive board member Dave Moskovitz told RNZ that some software exposes schools to hacks and shares children’s personal data with third parties.
“Schools are in a weaker position than most organizations because they lack funding. .
Government documents say some domestically-made software is part of the problem, but Moskovitz said foreign-developed applications also pose cybersecurity and privacy risks.
“It is true that there are some New Zealand software providers whose software is not particularly privacy conscious, but this also applies to overseas software. This is not a situation unique to New Zealand,” he said. .
“I think it is unfair to point out that New Zealand does poorly in this area.In fact, I think it probably performs at a higher level than most other countries in the world. I think you care.”
According to Moskovitz, international research shows that 96% of online education products provided student data to potentially harmful third parties.
“It’s pretty serious. One of the reasons behind it is that a lot of these products are provided for free and essentially the students become the products,” he said.
“Why are there so many free products in use? Schools are generally not funded enough to provide the technology they need to provide quality education to their students. That’s why it’s so prevalent.”
According to Moskovitz, New Zealand teachers use many of the free products developed abroad.
He said products developed in New Zealand generally protect student privacy.
The association said the school’s lack of standards for IT services and the Ministry of Education’s no-interference approach were completely inadequate.
Government documents showed the ministry was working to address both of these issues.