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What’s new with the Microsoft schools’ agreement?

(Last Updated On: November 11, 2021)

Microsoft New Zealand’s renewed agreement with the Ministry of Education provides schools with more than just three more years of free access to its core software. The new deal also offers enhanced security features that will boost cybersecurity and make you, your students and your school even more digitally safe and secure.

As you may know, the schools’ agreement between Microsoft New Zealand and the Ministry of Education has been renewed for three years, coming into effect on 1 January, 2022, and running until 31 December, 2024.

Officially titled the Microsoft Enrolment for Education Services (EES) Agreement, a key component is the continuing free access for students and staff at all state schools, state-integrated schools and kura kuapapa to Microsoft’s suite of powerful learning tools. What are known as A3 licences, this makes available at no cost some of the company’s core software, such as Microsoft 365 (including Teams, OneNote and Forms), Minecraft: Education Edition, and Windows 10 and above, that allow teachers to build a collaborative, hybrid classroom.

What you may not know, however, is that there are several significant additions to the overall deal, notably a new focus on boosting cybersecurity and making schools even more safe and secure.

Emma Barrett, Public Sector Director at Microsoft New Zealand, said she was delighted to be renewing Microsoft’s relationship with the MoE and empowering schools to provide safe, trusted online learning.

“This agreement paves the way for schools in the country to enjoy world-class, enterprise-level security on every device,” she said.

“As more schools and kura across Aotearoa embrace secure cloud platforms and new technologies, such as cloud telephony, over the next few years, that’s going to give educators even more confidence to innovate in the digital space. That’s great news for teachers, for students, and for the future of New Zealand.”

Intensive and advanced

What this means is that schools who have already adopted cloud security and protection technologies can now apply for fully funded A5 licences that provide more intensive security management and advanced compliance on all school-owned devices, with additional analytics tools (through Power BI).

The A5 licences include Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, a cloud-based solution designed to help school networks prevent, detect, investigate and respond to advanced threats.

“The agreement now includes a number of M365 A5 licences and Defender for Endpoint per year for all school-owned devices that are utilising A3 licences,” added Barrett. “This aligns and empowers the Ministry’s strategy for safer and more secure learning environments.”

M365 A5 Licences

This offers everything in A3, but with more intensive security management, additional analytics tools (through Power BI), and advanced compliance. A5 makes security a priority with Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, a cloud-based solution that helps protect your school identities from multiple types of advanced targeted cyberattacks.

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint

This is a product feature of A5 and provides an enterprise endpoint security platform designed to help school networks prevent, detect, investigate, and respond to advanced threats. For those users that have A3, the Ministry of Education is also licensing them with Microsoft Defender for Endpoint.

“Schools and kura who use Microsoft software are encouraged to take advantage of these licences, in particular to avail themselves of the enhanced security benefits available from the A5 licence option and Defender for Endpoint,” wrote Stuart Wakefield, the Ministry of Education’s Chief Digital Officer.

While the renewed deal doesn’t come into effect until next year, the Defender for Endpoint security features have already been made available to eligible schools.

Free security training

Microsoft is also working with the Ministry to provide free security training and certifications to its technology partners, to help schools roll out enhanced cybersecurity faster.

“Throughout our long relationship with the Ministry of Education, we’ve worked together to identify the issues that matter most to schools and teachers and provide the tools they need to deliver the best educational outcomes,” said Lydia Kronawetter, Education Industry Executive at Microsoft New Zealand. “With today’s online and blended learning models, security is a top priority. It’s vital to ensure not only that digital education is useful and engaging, but that schools’ data is protected, and teaching continues to happen in a safe and secure environment.”

Dedicated online sessions are planned to update school IT administrators and leaders, as well as sessions for school IT service providers and integrators. These sessions will focus on the details of the new agreement, with an opportunity to ask questions and find out what support is provided.

“The Ministry will be sharing more information on this series of ongoing webinars over the coming weeks,” said Kronawetter. “We will be offering free virtual training events to empower school IT managers, with a focus on our security solutions included in A5 licences. These boot camps will be aligned to Microsoft certifications, with examination vouchers provided on completion.”

If you’d like to know more, further details about the agreement can be found from the Ministry of Education at education.govt.nz/school/digital-technology/software/microsoft/ or from Microsoft at microsoft.com/en-nz/anz/schoolsagreement/

Alternatively, if you’re interested in Microsoft products, contact Lydia Kronawetter at kronawetterl@microsoft.com


What software is included in the agreement?

Schools are licensed to use the Microsoft 365 A3 suite which includes: Windows 10 operating system, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Enterprise Mobility & Security and rights to the Microsoft server software. A range of new cloud-delivered services and tools are available under the agreement, including Office 365 Pro Plus, the Enterprise Mobility & Security suite and Minecraft Education Edition. It also includes expanded Student Use Benefits (SUB) on more products.

Office 365 provides a cloud-hosted suite of Office Productivity software. It allows choice for students’ and teachers’ devices to run Office in the cloud, on the desktop/device or in a hybrid mode where content is synchronised between the user’s device and cloud;

Office 365 Pro Plus includes the latest versions of Access, Excel, Skype for Business, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Word. Users install the client software onto their own devices and can run up to five copies on their computer (Mac/PC) and five on their mobile device (Android/iPhone);

Enterprise Mobility & Security enables schools to support mobile computing and BYOD. It provides tools to manage mobile and desktop devices, applications, security, identity and access rights., including Intune Mobile Device Management (MDM), Azure Active Directory Premium 1, Azure Rights Management and Advanced Threat Analytics;

Minecraft Education Edition is an open-world game that promotes computational thinking, creativity, collaboration and problem solving in an immersive environment. With education specific features such as teacher classroom controls, coding connection and hundreds of curriculum lessons, schools can easily integrate game-based learning into their classrooms. Minecraft Education Edition currently runs on Windows 10 and MacOS;

M365 A5 Licences which includes all services in A3 plus more advanced security management, additional analytics tools (through Power BI) and advanced compliance. A5 makes security a priority with Microsoft Defender, a cloud-based solution that helps protect school identities, devices and apps from multiple types of advanced targeted cyberattacks; and

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is usually a product feature of A5 and provides an enterprise endpoint security platform designed to help school networks prevent, detect, investigate, and respond to advanced threats. For those users that have A3, the Ministry of Education is also licensing them with Microsoft Defender for Endpoint.

Updated versions of all Microsoft’s key on-premise software are available. Contact nzschools@datacom.co.nz for more details, information about licensing and how to get started.


About Power BI

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INTERFACE November 2021

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