The 2020 Trust has suggested to Government that an increased investment in digital skills programmes for at-risk families and children could make a real difference in addressing education, justice and employment challenges. The Government had invited ideas and suggestions for addressing these challenges in a Social Investment Request for Information. Responses were required by today.
In its submission, the Trust pointed to the success of its digital literacy programmes, especially Computers in Homes that has a 14-year history of helping parents in low-income communities engage with their children’s learning. School principals report that programmes like Computers in Homes engage parents in the life of the school and this alone helps to deliver better learning outcomes for their children. But parents also gain the confidence to use computers and the internet in their homes, enabling them to communicate more frequently with teachers and more directly support their children’s learning.
The Trust also pointed to its recently introduced KiwiSkills Jobseeker programme. This provides foundation digital literacy skills for job seekers. The expansion of this programme to all job seekers, but especially vulnerable and at-risk families, will not only help prepare people prepare for work in a digital world, but also help improve the productivity of those already in work.
The Trust also raised an interesting new idea to use digital technologies for prisoners in the justice system to maintain more frequent contact with their families, especially their children. The provision of a digital device such as a tablet or netbook for prisoners to use in their cells would not only allow them to access online learning resources, but also stay in touch with their families using services like skype. The Trust has already successfully piloted its ICDL digital literacy programme in prison classrooms; the next step is to move this into cells where prisoners spend most of their time.