Education Minister Nikki Kaye says the Ministry of Education has been working closely with the ICT industry on ways to enhance digital technologies learning, and is finalising criteria for the $6 million Digital Technology for All Equity Fund.
“This fund is about securing providers who can deliver high-quality programmes, either in-school or out-of-school, which engage young people in innovative digital technologies learning,” says Ms Kaye.
The fund will open for proposals from the technology provider market next month.
“Our aim is to provide opportunities for up to 12,500 students each year, with programmes to be offered from Term 1, 2018,” says Ms Kaye.
“A focus of the programmes will be ensuring that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds have access to learning experiences that inspire them to develop a passion for using and creating digital technologies.
“It’s important we support every young person to reach their potential and develop the skills they need to thrive, regardless of their background.”
The Digital Technology for All Equity Fund is part of the $40 million digital fluency package announced in June, to support the integration of new digital technologies content into the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, the Māori-medium Curriculum.
“The Ministry of Education has been holding workshops around New Zealand, getting feedback from more than 3000 teachers, principals, school leaders, students, parents and industry on the proposed curriculum changes,” says Ms Kaye.
“Teachers will lead the delivery of the new curriculum, but it’s important we foster a closer relationship between the education and tech sectors, to enable students to be exposed to industry experts and cutting edge technological developments as they happen.
“I know from my discussions with businesses in the ICT industry that they’re really keen to get more involved in education.
“This will have the benefit of opening up exciting new learning opportunities for students, and ensuring we’re equipping them with the skills they need to pursue successful career paths in an increasingly digital world.
“It’s clear there’s no shortage of ideas within the tech sector about innovative ways to teach young people about digital technologies, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the proposals we’ll receive when the Digital Technology for All Equity Fund opens next month.
“Increasing teachers’ confidence in teaching the new curriculum is a critical part of supporting students’ learning, and the programme supported by the fund will aim to include teachers where possible.”
Details on how to make proposals under the new fund will be provided on the Government Electronic Tendering System (GETS) and Ministry of Education website next month.
“I encourage all prospective providers to think about the tremendous opportunities that this new fund could support, which is about inspiring our young people to succeed, and building stronger foundations for the future of our economy and nation.”