The Computers in Homes project will receive $2.5 million in additional operating funding in 2014/2015, as announced in yesterday’s Budget.
This allocation of funds will ensure the provision of more computers in homes, together with digital literacy training for low-income families.
Hekia Parata, Education Minister, says as a result families will be more engaged with their children’s education.
“This increased funding means up to 1,500 more low-income families will learn basic computer skills and be provided with access to the internet,” she says.
“We want to ensure that children, families and their communities can take full advantage of the suite of digital literacy initiatives the Government is rolling out.”
Computers in Homes began in 2000, and has provided thousands of families in low-income communities with access to digital technology. Skills are also taught to enable technology to be used effectively in education, training and employment. The 2020 Communications Trust, a not-for-profit organisation, runs the initiative.
Nikki Kaye, Associate Education Minister, says that Computers in Homes provides students and families in the most need with a computer, training and support, and home connectivity.
“Making the most of technology and digital content is essential to raising achievement for children and young people,” she says.
“When parents gain skills in using digital technology, they are able to enhance their children’s learning beyond the regular school day. I am pleased that Computers in Homes will continue this important work for a further year and continue to provide a range of benefits to families and their communities.”
Laurence Millar, Chair of the 2020 Communications Trust, says that they appreciate the on-going support from the Government, which ensures that thousands more school children will get access to the internet and technology, a vital part of our country’s future.
“Technology is widespread in our lives, so New Zealanders think that everyone everywhere has internet access, but this is far from the truth," Millar says.
"Last year's census showed that 62,000 households with school-aged children do not have access to the internet at home. This equates to one in six Kiwi kids who don't get to use the internet at home.
“Expanding the programme to 5,000 families annually would still cost less than 1% of the Government’s investment in ultra-fast broadband.”
Millar says that the results from the programme are ‘truly amazing’, and that graduates are more engaged with their children’s learning, as well as succeeding in employment and continued education.
“We are grateful for the funding extension, and will continue working with Government to find ways to include many more families in the programme.
"We urge the Government to keep investing in digital literacy alongside the infrastructure spend, to ensure all New Zealand gets the expected economic and social returns."