9 Oct 2022

Education Ministry puts record keeping software on hold due to cybersecurity concerns

4:25 pm on 9 October 2022
Hands on laptop writing code or using computer virus program for cyber attack

Photo: 123rf

The threat of hackers has stalled a $40m school IT project for more than a year.

The Education Ministry paused the roll out of Te Rito, a system that would help early childhood centres, schools and the ministry share and store information about students, in the middle of last year.

The ministry said it reviewed schools' systems for storing student information after major cyber security breaches in New Zealand in June last year.

It found problems with their ability to securely share data so it halted the roll out of Te Rito.

"In reviewing the capability of Student Management Systems, we identified issues with the ability to exchange learner and ākonga data securely. We also needed to consider the capacity of the sector in implementing significant change," the ministry said.

The ministry said the government was funding school IT improvements, including cyber security, and it had been consulting on a plan for the work through to 2030.

It said Te Rito would be part of that plan.

"We are working with our sector expert groups to plan and prioritise the roll out of our integrated plan for supporting school IT and data requirements. This will allow us to sequence improvements in the most effective way. While this work is on-going, we do not have a specific date for the resumption on Te Rito roll out," it said.

The ministry said it spent $16.7m on Te Rito since the middle of 2020.

It said 37 schools and 34 early learning services were using the system.

The ministry said feedback from schools showed support for Te Rito, but also that they had competing priorities for their time.

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