September 22, 2023

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$40 million investment package announced to enhance digital fluency of young New Zealanders

$40 million investment package announced to enhance digital fluency of young New Zealanders

New Zealand’s Education Minister Nikki Kaye today announced an investment package of around $40 million over three years to enhance the digital fluency of their young people.

“This investment will support the biggest change to our curriculum in 10 years,” says Ms. Kaye.

The package includes $24 million of new and $16 million of existing funding, and comes on top of:

  • the Government’s $700 million investment to enhance school connectivity
  • $21 million over three years already prioritised for teachers’ digital technologies related professional learning and development (PLD).

“This investment will help integrate new digital technologies content, released this morning for consultation, into the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, our Māori-medium Curriculum,” says Ms. Kaye.

“It includes a number of initiatives aimed at helping to upskill our teachers, support a seamless shift of our education system to a digital environment, and provide more opportunities for young people to learn about digital technologies.”

Ms. Kaye announced the package this morning alongside the launch of consultation into the new draft Digital Technologies | Hangarau Matihiko curriculum, during a visit to Newmarket Primary School in Auckland with Prime Minister Bill English.

“Digital technologies are revolutionising how we live and work and influencing every facet of our lives,” says Ms Kaye.

“To participate successfully in society and get the jobs and careers they want, our children will need to be confident users and creators of digital technologies.

“Digital fluency is now an essential life skill for our young people, so we must ensure they have the skills and knowledge they need to engage in an increasingly digital world.”

The package consists of three key parts:

Initiatives to upskill New Zealand’s teachers

“It’s important that teachers have the necessary knowledge and capability to teach the new curriculum content, so we’ll be investing $24 million of new money towards additional professional learning and development for teachers,” says Ms. Kaye.

“This investment will ensure all children, every year have teachers with the right skills, knowledge and confidence to teach the new curriculum content. Over 40,000 teachers will have access to the support they need over the next two years.”

The $24 million will include:

  • $9 million, on top of around $21 million that we already expect to spend over the next three years, on tailored digital-related professional learning and development based on identified needs of schools
  • $15 million for a new national programme to introduce teachers to the new curriculum and provide them with teaching strategies to support their delivery of the new content.

“We will also invest $3 million to support teachers and school leaders to work with up to 250 professional networks. These will assist schools and Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako to be at the forefront of new technologies, and support them to deliver the new curriculum.

“Teachers will lead the delivery of the new curriculum, but we want to do everything we can to support them to understand new technologies and translate this understanding into effective learning in the classroom.

“I will work with the sector to determine how best to involve digital experts, such as educators, academics and industry professionals, in these networks, as well as the scope of their role and the appointment process.

“As part of sector discussions, we will work through any potential barriers to these digital experts supporting schools, including whether they may need a limited authority to teach.

“The Education Council, the independent body that promotes excellence and shares best practice in the education sector, will work with Initial Teacher Education providers to ensure teachers in training are ready to deliver the new curriculum content when they begin teaching.”

Initiatives to support shift to a digital system

“We will invest over $7 million in a number of initiatives to help shift education to a digitally-oriented system.

“This is about supporting more teaching and learning in a digital format, as well as the move to online exams.”

The $7 million investment will include:

  • around $800,000 for a provider to partner with schools to provide specialised online learning to supplement teaching and learning in the classroom
  • around $3.5 million to provide engaging, interactive resources, such as video and audio streaming content and apps, to support delivery of the new curriculum
  • around $2.9 million for the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to continue to support the trialling of online exams with a selection of schools and kura, in preparation for making NCEA exams available online, where appropriate, by 2020.

Initiatives to provide more digital learning opportunities

“We will be investing around $7.5 million to inspire young people to think digitally when coming up with ideas and solving challenges, and make sure more students, regardless of background, can access digitally-rich learning environments,” says Ms. Kaye.

The $7.5 million investment includes:

  • around $6 million towards a ‘Digital Technology for All Equity Fund’, to support external providers to deliver high-quality, in-school and out-of-school learning opportunities for up to 12,500 students each year, with a focus on ensuring access for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • around $330,000 in $1000 scholarships, delivered by the Ministry of Youth Development, to support young people to develop innovative enterprises, including products or businesses, that have a digital focus
  • around $1.2 million towards a National Digital Championship (with potential contributions from industry partners) aimed at exciting students to use digital technologies to come up with innovate ways to solve community, social or environmental challenges.

“For the digital championship, we will look at models adopted by other countries, including Israel,” says Ms. Kaye.

“The use of digital technologies is now an integral part of most workplaces, and New Zealand companies are exporting more high-tech products and services.

“This $40 million investment will ensure our education system is aligned with the rapid technological developments now taking place, and enable our young people to participate fully in an ever-changing economy and society.”


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