“This announcement is the first step by the Coalition Government to address digital exclusion, and 20/20 Trust will be looking at how we can align our operations to match the expectations of the government,” says the Trust’s CEO Laurence Millar.
Millar is responding to the government’s announcement to establish a contestable fund for providers to train digital skills in homes.
Education minister Chris Hipkins says the Coalition has agreed to set aside up to $1 million this financial year for providers to undertake programmes to promote digital skills.
“This proposal, strongly promoted by the New Zealand First Party, is consistent with the Labour and New Zealand First Coalition Agreement which commits to restore funding for computers in homes programmes this Parliamentary term,” says associate education minister Tracey Martin.
Millar says the 20/20 Trust is focused on supporting all New Zealanders to participating in the digital world - for learning, for work and for life.
“Our mission is to provide leadership and work with communities to deliver programmes that contribute to New Zealanders’ digital literacy, skills and inclusion.”
There are still 100,000 school-aged children without internet access at home...Their exclusion drives a wedge into NZ society
He says the trust looks forward to working with the government in delivering digital inclusion programmes.
“There are still 100,000 school-aged children without internet access at home, and they continue to be a priority group for investment. Their exclusion drives a wedge into New Zealand society, affecting education, employability and social inclusion for generations.”
The Government has recognised digital inclusion as a priority and has set an aspirational goal to close digital divides by the year 2020.
Millar says more than 19,000 families have gained digital access and skills since 2001 as a result of participation in 20/20 Trust programmes, and the Trust is widely recognised as a significant contributor to digital inclusion in New Zealand.
“We have maintained our operational capability by drawing on reserves since Government funding for Computers in Homes ended in June 2017,” says Millar.
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