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East Coast school students get 2000th computer


East Coast school students get 2000th computer

Thousands of East Coast school students and their families now have more opportunity to lift their computer and info-tech skills as a result of a project that’s delivered 2000 recycled government computers into schools and communities, ministers said today.

East Coast, Gisborne and Wairoa schools now have one computer for every three to four students, compared to one computer for thirty children when Project Rorohiko started two years ago.

Education Minister Trevor Mallard and Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton today celebrated the delivery of the 2000th recycled government computer.

They videoconferenced from Parliament with students from Te Kura Maori O Te Waiu o Ngati Porou in Ruatoria, Ilminster Intermediate School in Gisborne, Nuhaka Primary School in Wairoa and Wairoa College.

Jim Anderton said helping schools and communities develop communications technologies was identified by the Tairäwhiti Development Taskforce as vital for future economic development in these areas.

“When we started looking at potential development opportunities in the region, we found there was a lack of people with the sort of skills that could provide the necessary skills for industries such as forestry. The Taskforce quickly identified the need to start developing ICT skills in the regions starting with schools. With increased skill levels business and industries will benefit.”

Trevor Mallard said there were already positive signs that students are benefiting from Project Rorohiko.

“We’re seeing more motivated students who are really excited by the technology and the opportunities it offers. And we’re seeing computers being used right across the curriculum. Becoming skilled with computers and internet-savvy is an essential tool that will help students get ahead in the knowledge economy,” he said. Project Probe, another government project aimed at making sure the regions can access the Internet through the provision of high-speed broadband networks, will be a further boost for students in the region, Trevor Mallard said. Mâori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia said Project Rorohiko had opened up opportunities for Mâori children, their whänau and their communities. This will be further extended, as several schools are planning to open up their computer suites to their communities.

“There’s a high percentage of Mäori living in this part of New Zealand. Mâori are also increasingly using technology. In providing increased access to technology through Project Rorohiko, we can open doors to learning skills that may have otherwise been closed to Mäori in the area,” Parekura Horomia said.

Background

Project Rorohiko has been jointly funded by Ministry of Education, Te Puni Kokiri and Ministry of Economic Development, at a cost of $3.9 million.

Project Rorohiko also funds Learning Technology Facilitators (LTFs) who help teachers and students make the most of the technology, and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Technicians who provide technical support for the schools. They will be funded until the end of next year.

The project officially ends when the 2000th computer is turned on today.

The recycled computers delivered by the project are connected to powerful IBM servers using what is known as “thin client technology”. All computers have access to the full Microsoft Office applications suite. The servers do all the processing as well as store students’ file folders and network accounts.


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