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Computers in Homes – Hon Mark Gosche

26 August 2000

Computers in Homes – Panmure Bridget School

Kia Ora, Greetings, Talofa Lava.

A month ago I was at the National Library launching a Pacific web directory and I met children and teachers from Cannons Creek School in Porirua.

As you will know they are the other school piloting Computers in Homes and I hear the children and families all say the pilot is a winner.

This isn't surprising.

Because when a home has a computer – everyone is a winner.

Children develop and learn. Parents and other family members are also trained in how to use the computer and this equips then with key skills for the workplace.

The community in which the family lives also benefits from members who are computer literate and computer confident.

I understand computers in homes families are encouraged to teach friends, neighbours and extended family the skills they have learnt.

A computer is an incredibly valuable asset for any community.

Computers are libraries with millions of books.

Computers are the telephones of the 21st Century – keeping in touch with aiga in the Pacific is becoming a reality for some Pacific families who are online and sending an e-mail is a lot cheaper than making a toll call.

Computers provide our families and communities with a gateway to the rest of the world.

Computers never close.

Computers are increasingly speaking languages spoken by many children from our school here – in fact I understand the Cannons Creek School has a website that is in English and Samoan. Proving that computers speak Samoan too.
The information superhighway is travelling faster than ever before we have a responsibility to make sure our children are not left standing at the kerb watching it go by.

Like you, I want our children to be driving along that information superhighway, showing the way forward.

A huge challenge facing all parents and families in the new millennium is making sure our children have access to computers and information technology and the internet.

Making sure our children have books to read is no longer enough. We now need to make sure there are computers to access, web sites to develop, internets to surf.

But not all homes are lucky enough to have a computer hooked up to the internet.

Computers in Homes is a big start.

That's a big reason why this year's budget set aside $7.5 million over four years to set up 150 study centres throughout the country. We want schools and communities to work together.

Most importantly - every single study centre will have access to computers and the internet.

The internet is changing the way the world communicates and understands.

Last weekend one of the families who have benefited from the Computers in Homes pilot sent an e-mail to the 2020 Communications Trust.

I would like to end by reading to you parts of this e-mail message.

First of all I would like to say a special thanks to your office about this great opportunity you have given to my family, especially my children. We never thought of this coming to my family at this early stage. I am happy to see my kids have another stage in their life that is different from what they have been brought up with in the islands.

It also gives my family a big opportunity to get a good job in the future because employers need people who can use computers.

God bless you and your department.

I think this sums it up. Congratulations Panmure Bridge School, children and families.

Ia Manuia.

© Scoop Media

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