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New project helps rural schools

27 January, 2005

New project helps rural schools with their computers

Remote and rural schools are getting help with the maintenance and upkeep of computer equipment through a new project launched today by Associate Education Minister David Benson-Pope.

“Technical support can be difficult and expensive to access in remote or rural communities," said Mr Benson-Pope. "The Community Technicians Project is about removing these types of barriers, which might be preventing schools from gaining the maximum benefit from their computer equipment."

The project supports people from rural communities as they undertake the Diploma in Information and Communications Technology, an NZQA-registered qualification provided by the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology.

The 18-month-long course will provide nine technicians with a recognised qualification, while at the same time guaranteeing quality-assured technical support to communities from Kaikohe in the north, to Tuatapere in the south.

Each technician has been assigned to a ‘host’ school within a cluster of schools in their region, where they will be based during their training. A significant part of the study programme involves them working in the cluster schools providing technical advice, and supporting school computing and communications equipment.

Each technician receives a scholarship, as well as resources such as laptops, cellphones, and high-speed internet access, which will help them undertake technical support tasks within their school cluster.

"This project recognises the growth of information and communication technologies in schools, and aims to help rural schools access learning opportunities presented by technologies like the internet,” said Mr Benson-Pope.

Schools hosting project technicians are Tarrangower School (Taumaranui), Northland College (Kaikohe), Tuatapere Community College (Southland), Tikokino School (Waipawa), Opononi Area School (Hokianga), Stratford Primary School (Stratford), Reporoa School (Reporoa), Dargaville Primary (Dargaville), and Opaki School (Masterton).

The Community Technicians project is one of the Ministry of Education’s Digital Opportunities projects, which are joint government, schools and business initiatives. They aim to support the innovative use of information and communications technologies to provide enhanced learning opportunities.

ENDS

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