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Govt Works With Business For Digital Opportunities

Government Works With Business For Digital Opportunities

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Education Minister Trevor Mallard today announced four education-based pilots to help New Zealand embrace the economic and social benefits of information technology.

Helen Clark said the projects resulted from meetings between senior Government Ministers and information and communication technology business leaders which began in July last year.

"We have a shared vision of New Zealand as an innovative nation leading the world using modern technology," Helen Clark said.

"The potential economic and social benefits for the country are enormous.

"But turning the vision into reality will require bringing all our citizens on board and giving them the opportunity to access and gain the skills to use new technology. It's about access, ability and attitude.

"Representatives from some of the country's leading ICT and related companies have been meeting with Government for six months to discuss how we can work in partnership to help bridge the digital divide and create a digital opportunity.

"Today, we are signing a protocol that formalises that partnership and leads the way to develop four pilot projects to start realising our vision.

"While the agreement does not extend beyond these initial projects, I am confident that there will be further opportunities for Government and business to work together towards common goals," Helen Clark said.

Trevor Mallard said by making education the focus of the pilots the Government was recognising the important role schools play in turning the digital divide into a digital opportunity.

"Education is the ideal place to start because we can use ICT to stimulate and enhance learning, while helping a generation of young people to grow up comfortable and confident with ICT.

"If children from poor or rural areas are left behind, there is a high chance that they will never catch up.

"The four pilot projects recognise some of the barriers to realising our vision and propose practical solutions. (summaries attached)

"The Government will commit $10.4 million over the next four years to the projects. Our business partners will contribute in a variety of ways including offering products at reduced rates as well as the skills and experience of their staff," Trevor Mallard said.

"Contributions from businesses mean the cost of the projects to the tax-payer will be lower than could be achieved through a contestable tendering process. The exact contributions will be confirmed in service agreements between the businesses and the Ministry of Education, together with participating schools.

"This is an exciting opportunity for schools in the pilot areas as well as for the development of our country," Trevor Mallard said.

Project summaries
Copy of protocol agreement
Question and Answers
8 February 2001

ICT Technology Training – West Auckland and Gisborne

The ICT Technology Training pilot project will provide students in five low decile secondary schools in West Auckland and Gisborne with access to:

* technology qualifications from Microsoft and other technology qualification providers (access to Microsoft qualifications will be the focus of the first year of the pilot);
* recognition for these qualifications on the NZQA framework;
* good quality connections to the Internet (minimum 128k – two way connection);
* computers, software, and professional development.

The purpose of this pilot is to get these highly credible and transferable qualifications available on the NZQA framework, and ensure work toward these certificates 'counts' in the school environment. Students will not only be well placed to enter the workforce, but will be capable of maintaining their own school computer networks, helping to address the shortage of technical skills in some regions.

This project is led by Microsoft, in partnership with Clear Communications, IBM, TVNZ and TKI.


Learning Communities in the Far North

The Learning Communities pilot project will provide 10 schools in the Far North with access to:

* computer based bilingual learning resources, including interactive and tailored materials targeted at the maths, science and technology curriculum. This includes creating resources and using existing resources from TVNZ and INL archives;
* good quality connections to the Internet (minimum 128k – two way connection);
* computers, software, and professional development.

The resources will be made available through Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI), the Ministry of Education’s bilingual education portal. These resources will be designed to bring maths, science and technology 'alive' for students. By bringing these subjects alive, the project aims to engage and retain students in these subject areas, which are crucial for the knowledge economy.

The project will encourage collaborative approaches to curriculum planning and delivery. The Options will be explored for engaging the wider community to create 'learning communities'.

This project is led by the Learning Centre Trust (who manage the TKI portal), in partnership with Telecom, IBM, Microsoft, TVNZ, INL, NZ Post, Renaissance and Taylormade.


ICT Boosted Study Support Centres in Southland & Canterbury

The study support centre pilot project involves providing three study support centres in Southland and Canterbury with an ICT boost. They will have access to:

* good quality connections to the Internet;
* computers, software, and professional development;
* training, technical and student support;
* facilitated study support using ICT.

The purpose of this pilot is to see if an ICT boost can enhance learning outcomes. These centres will be accessible to both students and the community, encouraging the concept of the 'learning community'.

This project is led by Telecom, in partnership with Compaq, NZ Post, Microsoft, Vodafone, Renaissance and TKI.


Lap-tops for Teachers and Senior Students - Hutt Valley

The Lap-tops for Teachers and Senior Students pilot project provides teachers and some year 12 and 13 (6th and 7th form) maths, science and technology students in four low decile Hutt Valley schools with access to:

* lap top computers and software;
* good quality connections to the Internet;
* professional development and student training;
* back-up support and networking opportunities.

This project aims to encourage and assist students to excel in senior science, mathematics and technology. It tests whether providing an incentive, such as a lap-top, helps with retention between 6th and 7th form, and whether it is of assistance as a learning tool. In addition, this project will test whether the networking of students to create on-line learning environments enhances interest and achievement.

The project will also explore providing Internet access to the homes of participating students, thereby engaging their families.

This project is led by Compaq, in partnership with Telstra Saturn, Renaissance, Microsoft and TKI.

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