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Trust welcomes boost to digital literacy funding

MEDIA RELEASE: 2 July 2013

The funding boost for the Computers in Homes digital literacy programme, announced today has been welcomed by the 2020 Communications Trust.
“We appreciate this on-going support from Government,” said Laurence Millar, Chair of the 2020 Communications Trust. “This will help us continue to tackle the digital divide for families with school-aged children who do not have access to a computer and internet in their homes.”

Computers in Homes ticks all the boxes in terms of government’s digital priorities and target groups and is strongly supported by communities throughout New Zealand and especially by Members of Parliament for the most remote and disconnected regions, many of whom have seen first-hand the benefits for their constituents.

“We have a waiting list of over 3000 families, and we believe there could still be more than 70,000 families with school-aged children without access to the internet in their homes,” said Mr Millar. “We are looking forward to the results of the Census later this year to get an up-to-date picture on the extent of the digital divide.”

“Computers in Homes currently supports families in 17 low income communities from the Far North to Otago. Today’s announcement means that we can support another 1500 families during the next year, and continue to respond to demand in these regions.”

“Government has announced the 21st Century Learning Reference Group to provide expert advice on digital literacy in schools to indicate the importance of digital skills for New Zealand’s future. Digital inclusion is an important part of our future, and expanding the programme to reach 5,000 families every year would cost less than 1% of the Government’s investment in ultra-fast broadband. We urge the Government to keep investing in digital literacy alongside the infrastructure spend, to ensure New Zealand gets the expected economic and social returns,” Mr Millar concluded.

About Computers in Homes

Parents who participate in the programme receive 20 hours of basic computer training at their children's schools. This includes word processing, emailing and using the Internet for homework as well as for general family information. When parents complete their training, they receive a refurbished computer to take home and a subsidised internet connection for 12 months. Families have access to free technical support for the first year for help with any technical problems.

The programme aims to empower parents to become actively involved in their children's learning, as well as increase their own employment opportunities. Results from the programme have included employment success and continued education, with many achieving a tertiary qualification, as well as increased engagement with their children’s learning and their schools.

Computers in Homes is an initiative of the 2020 Communications Trust with support from the Ministry of Education and Department of Internal Affairs.

About 2020 Communications Trust

The 2020 Communications Trust is a registered not-for-profit charitable trust that was set up in 1996 by the Wellington City Council to promote digital literacy, initially for Wellington citizens, and in the year 2000 the scope was extended to include all New Zealanders. Our vision is for all New Zealanders to be able to fully participate in a digital world. In order to achieve this vision, everyone needs the opportunity and the skills to become digitally literate.

Further information: 
Laurence Millar, Chair 2020 Communications Trust 021 441 461

01:35PM Tuesday, 02 July, 2013

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