Scheme fund­ing re­in­stated

Com­put­ers-in-homes on more solid ground

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

The fu­ture of the Com­put­ers-InHomes scheme is more as­sured af­ter a Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion an­nounce­ment that re­versed a bud­get cut.

Govern­ment fund­ing for the scheme was cut in the Bud­get in May, but the Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion, Hekia Parata, the As­so­ciate Min­is­ter, Nikki Kaye, and the Min­is­ter of the Com­mu­nity and Vol­un­tary Sec­tor, Jo Good­hew, an­nounced in Porirua last Tues­day that the fund­ing would be re­in­stated.

Ms Parata said $1.6 mil­lion had been moved from the Vote Ed­u­ca­tion bud­get to the Depart­ment of In­ter­nal Af­fairs for en­abling dig­i­tal lit­er­acy.

‘‘Th­ese con­nec­tions are pow­er­ful in boost­ing the ed­u­ca­tional achieve­ment of our chil­dren,’’ Ms Parata said.

Com­put­ers-In-Homes be­gan as a pilot pro­ject in 2000, run by the 2020 Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Trust.

Ms Kaye said the pro­gramme was par­tic­u­larly aimed at fam­i­lies and stu­dents from low- in­come house­holds so they could have the best pos­si­ble ed­u­ca­tion and learn the skills nec­es­sary to gain a job.

‘‘ Re­search shows that when par­ents ac­quire th­ese skills, they can bet­ter sup­port their chil­dren’s learn­ing.’’

The fund­ing would pro­vide com- put­ers for an­other 1500 fam­i­lies and their com­mu­ni­ties.

The Govern­ment recog­nised the im­por­tance of dig­i­tal lit­er­acy and had in­vested $1.35 bil­lion to pro­vide ul­tra-fast broad­band for 75 per cent of New Zealand by the end of 2019, Ms Kaye said.

Lo­cally the scheme is de­liv­ered by the char­i­ta­ble trust e-learn­ing Porirua.

Trust chair­man Gra­ham Kelly, a for­mer MP for Mana, said this year’s bud­get cut had meant the 20 Com­put­ers- In- Homes trusts around New Zealand in largely low-in­come ar­eas like the east coast, North­land and the West Coast were faced with clos­ing.

It cost the e- learn­ing trust $200,000 each year to keep go­ing, or $3000 for each fam­ily.

Each fam­ily was pro­vided with 10 weeks’ train­ing in ba­sic com­puter skills, op­er­at­ing a word pro­ces­sor, email­ing and web­surf­ing.

Af­ter train­ing, the fam­ily con­trib­uted a $50 com­mit­ment fee and re­ceived a high-spec­i­fi­ca­tion, re­fur­bished com­puter, with in­ter­net con­nec­tion, two free vis­its from a tech­ni­cian, and phone sup­port through an 0800 num­ber.

Soft­ware for the com­put­ers was pro­vided through a li­cens­ing deal with Mi­crosoft, which al­lowed its prod­ucts to be in­stalled free on the re­fur­bished ma­chines.

‘‘The big thing about this in­vest- ment is that the min­is­ters have in­di­cated that the in­vest­ment was for the next 12 months,’’ Mr Kelly said. ‘‘They are go­ing to be work­ing on a strat­egy for the fu­ture. That is sig­nif­i­cant be­cause, while we’ve been get­ting by in the last 13 years, we’ve never had a strat­egy.’’

Can­nons Creek mother Kathryn Katu was at e-learn­ing Porirua for the an­nounce­ment with two of her chil­dren, Kineisha- Lee, 4, and Kayla-Jay, 2.

The fam­ily were in their eighth week of com­puter train­ing and look­ing for­ward to hav­ing a com­puter in­stalled at home, and con­nected to the in­ter­net.

‘‘I didn’t know how to use a com­puter when I came here,’’ she said.

Kineisha-lee Katu, 4, Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Hekia Parata, As­so­ciate Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Nikki Kaye, Kayla-jay Katu, 2, and Kathryn Katu of Can­nons Creek check out the com­put­ers at e-learn­ing Porirua. Photo: JIM

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