The Ministry’s TELA Scheme has been putting digital devices in the hands of school educators for years. Now under new management, it’s promising more choice, better deals and enhanced service, writes Paul Brislen.
TELA has undergone the first major revision in its 17-year history, with Cyclone Computers taking over day-to-day management and a number of new vendors being brought on board. Welcome to TELA+!
Set up by the Ministry of Education initially to deliver digital devices to school principals, the scheme has grown to include school teachers and now provides around 50,000 devices to educators across the country.
Graham Prentice, Cyclone’s General Manager, NZ Government Sector, says last year the Ministry went out to market with a view to approaching the scheme in a new way.
“Think of the new offer as TELA ‘Plus’ because it’s quite different.”
The original scheme included three device manufacturers – Apple, Toshiba and HP – offering three devices each (an entry level device, a mid-grade and a and a high-end one). The Ministry subsidises these devices by around 60 per cent, depending on the specification level, and Spark Digital had been managing the whole process.
About the TELA scheme
TELA is a digital device leasing scheme for eligible principals and teachers in state and state integrated schools. The scheme also provides a helpdesk, warranty and repairs service. Devices are leased for three years and then replaced.
New approach chosen
But last year the Ministry asked companies in the Education/IT sector for fresh ideas and suggestions for a new approach to operating the TELA programme. Cyclone’s model was chosen.
“We’ve increased the number of vendors from three to five, and we’ve broadened the range of devices out from just laptops.”
From March, participants can choose from up to 14 different devices from Apple, HP, Microsoft, Acer or Lenovo. This includes the Microsoft Surface and Apple iPad, as well as Chromebooks, hybrids and traditional laptops. HP, Belkin and Targus are also providing a range of bags and packpacks.
But it’s not just the devices that are different under the new scheme.
“We’ve taken over the leading provisions of the existing fleet as well, and we’ve moved to an on-site warranty model, so the schools don’t have to send devices back to us for repair if something goes wrong.”
Live chat support line
These devices are seen as an integral part of the teacher’s toolkit and Graham says sending them away for repair simple wasn’t an option.
“We also offer remote remediation, so we can dial in and have a look at a problem, and a live chat support line. While the chat service is focused on hardware issues, Apple has launched Apple Care Enterprise as part of the TELA+ programme, so teachers with an issue relating to the Mac OS or even to the apps they’re working with can get help online.”
- HP 13.3-inch Business Sleeve
- HP 15.6-inch Business Top Load Bag
- HP 17.3-inch Business Backpack
- Belkin Classic Pro Backpack
- Belkin Active Pro Backpack
- Belkin 14-inch Air Protect Slim Case
- Belkin 11 – 13-inch Sleeve
- Targus 15-inch Classic+ Topload Bag
- Targus 14-inch Bex II Sleeve
- Targus 16-inch Terra Backpack
Build from scratch
The move is a big one for Cyclone, which has established itself as one of the leaders in IT for the education system.
“We’ve built a new portal from scratch to deliver the new service and that’s not a simple thing. We’ve got staff for the helpdesk and to support teachers, and we’re working with teachers and schools as they move to cloud services rather than having everything on the device.”
TELA+ leases each device on a three-year cycle with one third of the fleet being retired each year, but for Graham that presents as much an opportunity as it does a problem to manage.
“These are enterprise grade devices that have been managed and maintained and they’re not exactly end of life so as part of our proposal we’re looking at what can be done with these devices once the teachers send them back.”
Eligibility to join TELA
Schools must be state or state integrated.
Teachers must be:
- Permanent full-time or part-time (at least 50 per cent full-time equivalent) teacher;
- Working with Years 1 to 13; or
- Relieving for a permanent position in Years 1 to 13 (long-term relievers are only eligible if they are relieving for a permanent position that doesn’t have a digital device).
Looking to the future
The new-look TELA+ contract is for three years but Graham has hopes of seeing it extended beyond that.
“If we do well then yes, it could potentially be a longer contract.”
- Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch
- Apple MacBook Air 13-inch
- Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch
- Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch
- HP EliteBook 840 G4 Laptop
- HP EliteBook 850 G4 Laptop
- HP Elite x2 Detachable Laptop
- HP EliteBook x360 Convertible Laptop
- Lenovo ThinkPad L470 Laptop
- Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 370 Convertible
- Acer Spin 5 Laptop
- Acer Chromebook R13
- Microsoft Surface Laptop
- Microsoft Surface Pro
By Paul Brislen, editorial assistant at INTERFACE Magazine.