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Budget 2005: ICT package for under-fives funded

12 April 2005 Media Statement

Budget 2005 funds ICT package for under-fives

Education Minister Trevor Mallard today launched Foundations for Discovery, a new framework aimed at promoting the use of ICT (information and communications technology) as a tool to strengthen the education young children receive, and to help ece services operate.

"This ICT resource is a first for the sector and will be supported by a $16 million package over the next four years, as part of Budget 2005," Trevor Mallard said at the launch at Capital E in Wellington today.

"Foundations for Discovery outlines the areas for government action and opportunities for ICT developments by the sector. The framework was requested by the sector, and is the result of extensive consultation. It reflects the needs and priorities that the early childhood sector identified for itself.

“ICT is transforming our daily lives, and that includes the lives of our very youngest children. However, at present the uptake and use of ICT in early childhood education settings is variable, despite it having huge potential.

"The use of ICT in early childhood education is not about computers for toddlers. It is about all the new technologies that influence our lives – from DVDs and interactive multimedia programmes to digital cameras and telephones and how these can be used to support learning.
"Research shows that children’s learning is enhanced by the effective use of ICT by educators. Children can use ICT to observe, explain, record and review their world in different ways, and it can assist with the development of early literacy and maths and the development of communication skills.
"ICT is also a valuable tool in building professional capability in the ECE sector and providing additional ways of accessing professional development. And ICT can help services manage their information systems and administration.

“With this framework as a guide, the sector will be better positioned to maximise the benefits and minimise the risks of investment in and use of ICT. As well as helping teachers and services incorporate ICT into children’s early experiences, ICT can also be a good way to better involve parents and communities in children's education.

“The $16 million package will provide support to the sector to lift its use of ICT through initiatives such as regional professional development, research projects and the creation of ICT-based resources," Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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