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Computers in Homes graduation

Media release
30 June 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


MPs show support at New Zealand’s largest Computers in Homes graduation

With around 100,000 Kiwi families with school-aged children still waiting to access the Internet...

Thirty seven Eltham families celebrated today at New Zealand’s largest ever Computer in Homes graduation.

This is the sixth graduation for the Eltham Computers in Homes programme and the largest nationally, with 180 attendees including many MPs and prominent members of the community.

Through the national Computers in Homes programme, local families are provided with computers and internet access along with training, skills and support to use this technology, via their local schools.

The programme brings computer technology within reach of all New Zealand families with school-aged children and allows parents and grandparents to connect with their children’s learning.

Computers in Homes estimates more than 100,000 New Zealand families with school-aged children in low income communities still don’t have a computer at home. The organisation is in Eltham today to both celebrate local achievements and raise awareness of the programme to encourage Government and business to scale up their support for the programme

“We are encouraged by the level of support from MPs from Labour, National and the Maori party that will be present today. We do hope regional celebrations such as Eltham’s will encourage the Government and businesses to expand their support for the programme to ensure it gets the funding it needs to connect the other 100,000 families in New Zealand without a computer and the internet,” said Computers in Homes’ National Coordinator, Di Das.

Ms Das says New Zealand’s 2006 Census results reinforce the need for funding and support to establish and develop Computers in Homes into a national programme and policy.

“37% of households with school-aged children are without the Internet in the South Taranaki District according to the 2006 Census. This compares to the North Shore District, which has only 13% of households without internet access,” Ms Das says.

“South Taranaki is a priority region as the district ranks 57th for internet access out of 73 districts in New Zealand. Computers in Homes has helped to connect some of these South Taranaki families but there are many more here and across the country who are waiting to be included,” she says.

The programme started in 2000 and has already supported more than 4,000 New Zealand families with recycled computers, six months of free internet access, computer training and technical support, via their local schools.

Parents receive 20 hours of basic computer training including word processing, emailing and using the internet, conducted at their children’s school or a local community hub.

The training is aimed at empowering parents to become actively involved in their children’s learning, as well as increasing their own employment opportunities and confidence. Results from the programme have included employment success and continued education. Ms Das says the programme has also seen a number of parents actively engaging with their school for the first time.

“We receive numerous emails of thanks from participants in the programme. It opens up a whole new world of opportunity for families who participate.” Ms Das says.

Computers in Homes is an initiative of the 2020 Communications Trust with support from the Ministry of Education and the Government’s Digital Strategy Community Partnership Fund. The 2020 Trust is looking for funding and support to expand Computers in Homes to all low income communities where children do not have access to computers and the Internet in their homes.

For more information visit www.computersinhomes.org.nz.

ENDS

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