NZTech report: address students’ equity of access

A new report analyses New Zealand’s tech sector and highlights economic opportunities. It also recommends addressing the ‘Digital Learning Divide’.  “From Tech Sector to Digital Nation” is from NZTech, the New Zealand Technology Industry Association, with support from over 50 organisations from industry, education, health and government, including 2020’s strategic partner InternetNZ.

The section on education focuses mainly on the classroom, and favourably compares our claassroom computer/student ratio with Australia, but says:

Addressing the Digital Learning Divide – there is risk that many students of the priority learner group (particularly low decile, Maori and Pasifika students) have limited access to digital learning tools. This may exclude them from successfully participating in the move to 21st Century learning. In other countries this is being addressed through partnerships between the tech sector, the government and other private partners. This may be an approach worth exploring in New Zealand.

(2020’s Computers in Homes programme addresses home internet access needs of this priority learner group, and imparts digital skills to their caregivers. These students can continue their digital learning at home without disadvantage, and with the crucial support of their families. Computers in Homes has helped 15,000 families since its inception, and will enable 1,500 more in 2016/17.)

The report concludes:

Underpinning the move to 21st Century learning, we believe attention should also be paid to protecting student identity and privacy, and addressing the equity of access issue to digital learning for all students.

Welcoming the report, InternetNZ’s Deputy Chief Executive Andrew Cushen says the report brings some huge opportunities to light.

“We all know that the tech sector has grown significantly and continues to do so in today’s digital age. We also know that the use of technology has huge benefits for jobs, exports, education and the wider economy.

“What has been missing until now is concrete evidence of the opportunities available should we take full advantage of what technology and the Internet can bring to our country,” says Cushen.

“There is also a clear story here about the need for digital inclusion – in education, business, and in our wider society – in order to maximise these opportunities.

More information

‘From Tech Sector to Digital Nation’ is a viewable and downloadable e-book from NZTech

InternetNZ’s press release ‘Tech sector brings opportunities by the billions’

Computers in Homes