National will roll out a suite of technology, maths and language initiatives in schools to ensure our young people have the skills to succeed in a more digital and internationally connected world.

“We want to help our children develop skills that will help them succeed over their lifetimes, both in New Zealand and around the world,” Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.

“National will establish Digital Internships and Digital Academies, to give year 12 and 13 students practical, work-based learning opportunities that are a springboard into the IT sector.

“Digital academies will be similar to Trades Academies, and offer specialised, IT-focused learning which also allows 1000 students a year to gain relevant NCEA credits.

“Digital internships will see work placements, mentoring and tailored learning provided by industry partners for 500 year 12 and 13 students a year, building a pathway between skills gained in the classroom and jobs in the IT industry.”

The digital learning package is expected to cost $48 million over four years.

National will invest a further $126 million over four years to improve student achievement in maths at primary school, which has been highlighted by National Standards as an area where New Zealand needs to improve.

“We’ve set an ambitious target of having 80 per cent of 13 year olds at or above National Standards in maths by 2021, and we’ll give our children and their teachers the tools they need to succeed,” Ms Kaye says.

“We know some teachers lack confidence in maths, which affects their ability to pass these skills on to our children, so we will invest in them, by providing 1200 fully funded places a year for teachers wanting to undertake university-level papers targeted at teaching maths to primary students.

“We will also provide intensive support in the classroom to students who need it, in 1000 schools per year that have identified maths as a particular issue. And we will roll out more classroom resources such as apps to all schools to help raise achievement in primary schools.

Finally, National will ensure all children have the opportunity to learn a second language at primary school, if they choose to.

“National will invest $160 million over four years to provide schools and Communities of Learning with more expert language teachers, language specialists and online resources.

“At least 10 priority languages for the programme will be set following consultation with communities, with Mandarin, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean likely to be included, along with Te Reo and New Zealand Sign Language.

“It will be up to school boards to decide which languages will be taught in each school, but they will be required to offer at least one second language to their students.

“National’s education policy is about supporting students to develop skills that will help them succeed both on our shores and beyond,” Ms Kaye says.

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