3000 New Zealand families to learn new digital skills

Press Release: 3,000 families from 17 different regions throughout New Zealand will have the opportunity to connect with the online world thanks to a recent Government funding boost for the Computers in Homes programme.

Computers in Homes helps local schools provide computers, internet access and computer training to families with school-aged children who do not have a computer and the Internet in their homes.

The programme received a total of $6.6 million for three years from the Government’s 2010 budget which will give more families the chance to learn computer skills for the first time. In addition to extending Computers in Homes in existing areas, the funding will also allow the programme to expand to new areas throughout New Zealand including Manukau, Opotiki, Ruapehu/King Country, Wairarapa, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Computers in Homes National Coordinator, Di Das is thrilled with the government’s support saying “The programme delivers a number of real benefits for families, schools and communities. Parents are able to connect with their children’s learning and improve their confidence by gaining valuable new skills. It’s an exciting time for Computers in Homes with this announcement and the recent launch of our new website which will provide further support to programme participants and our dedicated team across the country,” Ms Das says.

Since the programme started in 2000 it has supported over 5,000 families throughout New Zealand. However, Computers in Homes estimates that more than 100,000 New Zealand families with school-aged children in low income communities still don’t have a computer and internet access at home. This prompted the launch of the ‘100,000 Challenge’ which aims to connect the 100,000 remaining families without a computer in their homes and encourage digital literacy and competence.

“The programme has made good progress throughout New Zealand and having this backing from the Government is a fantastic boost for Computers in Homes. It is a huge step towards promoting digital literacy and we will continue working hard to realise our vision of bringing computer technology within reach of all New Zealand families with school-aged children,” Ms Das says.

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.

The training 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.

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