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Young learners losing out

20 Dec 2012

Some of our youngest learners are losing out thanks to the government’s lack of progress in closing the digital divide.

That is according to the Labour Party, who have called for a comprehensive cross-party strategy to close the digital divide.

After releasing their minority report, which will be discussed in detail on Techday tomorrow, on the Education and Science Select Committee Inquiry into 21st century learning and digital literacy, the party's Communications and IT spokesperson Clare Curran said:

“As we head into 2013 the contrast between children who have access to technology at home and in school, and those who do not, is of increasing concern.

“National made promises to get our kids connected. Four years on, and there’s still too many missing out.

“We believe the select committee report acknowledges some of these inequities, but has not adequately addressed the factors entrenching the digital divide.

“All New Zealand children should be learning in a 21st century digital environment. The Government can help tackle digital literacy by ensuring our schools are well-equipped.

“It is estimated that around 20 per cent of New Zealand households don’t have a computer. More often than not these unconnected homes are in lower socio-economic areas where the local schools also struggle for resources.

“While programmes such as Computers in Homes, Computer Clubhouse and Aotearoa People’s Network do great work in increasing digital literacy, their success is sporadic because of limited and uncertain funding.

“While Labour generally supports the thrust of the select committee’s inquiry we don’t believe it has gone far enough.

“It has been a co-operative and collaborative process and we acknowledge the goodwill and intent of all members.

"However, while we support the bulk of the recommendations as a baseline, there are a number of matters that need strengthening.

“The Government must show leadership on this issue,."

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