A new educational initiative to provide e-mail access and other online tools to students, teachers and administrators was unveiled recently by the Manitoba government.

Dubbed CyberSchools Manitoba, the initiative is an Internet-based, education-specific system that will give users access to e-mail and online calendars. The project will allow students to use e-mail for research and information sharing.

“The e-mail and calendar function will also provide administrators and teachers with a new and effective planning and communications tool that will increase opportunities to stay in touch with parents and the public,” said Ron Lemieux, the education and youth minister for the province.

The education and youth department launched a limited CyberSchools pilot project last year. The school divisions that took part provided positive feedback about the initiative, Lemieux said.

The Manitoba government has allocated $650,000 per year over five years to support the implementation of the education gateway. It’s scheduled to be available to students and staff this spring and will be fully accessible in September.