Close the digital divide - free or subsidised digital devices for all students in NZ!

Close the digital divide - free or subsidised digital devices for all students in NZ!

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At 1,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!
Claire Amos started this petition to Ministry of Education and

We must close our digital divide in New Zealand Schools!

As we head into another lockdown in New Zealand it becomes increasingly clear how important it is that every young person has their own digital device and access to reliable wifi so as to continue to effectively engage with their learning. As we continue to live in a time of disruptions and uncertainty, technology has the ability to connect our young people with each other, their community, school and learning. 

Providing each and every young person with a subsidised (or free) device and free internet access will go a long way in closing our digital divide. This will not only support learning but help ensure we can keep an increasingly vulnerable group connected. 

In 2014 a Ministry of Education report was published that recommended , amongst other things, equitable access to digital devoces for all learners. Seven years later and we are yet to achieve this!

From the report:

Achieve equitable access to digital devices for every learner

Personal use of digital devices, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, has been evolving for around two decades. Devices have become increasingly affordable and mobile. Mobile digital devices provide versatile, engaging tools that allow students to learn, create, share and collaborate anywhere and at any time. Mobile digital devices will become as integral to teaching and learning in the future as textbooks, pencils and paper are now. We expect that when all schools and kura have access to high-speed broadband, it will be the norm for learners to use personal digital devices. The 2012 School ICT Infrastructure Survey indicated that many New Zealand schools have introduced, or are introducing, one-to-one digital device programmes. Of the 600 schools that responded, 25% were implementing a ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) programme, or intended to do so within 12 months of the survey. ECE services, schools and kura planning to use digital devices school-wide have many factors to take into account. Some of these are strategic — why we are doing this?, how will it support better learning outcomes?, and how will we get families and whānau on board? Others factors concern operational issues — what infrastructure is needed to support devices?, how will we build staff capability?, and how will we ensure all learners benefit? We believe ECE services and schools should have access to resources and tools that help with their planning as they prepare to use digital devices for learning.

You can read the full report here: https://www.education.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Ministry/Initiatives/FutureFocusedLearning30May2014.pdf

The OECD continues to highlight the reality of the digital divide.

From the OECD:

“Digital technologies have helped our economies and societies to avoid a complete standstill during the COVID-19 crisis, and have enabled us to learn more about the virus, accelerate the search for a vaccine and track the development of the pandemic,” said OECD Deputy Secretary-General Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, launching the report at a virtual event.“But the crisis has also accentuated our dependence on digital technologies and exposed the reality of the digital divides between and within countries. We are at a turning point in the digital transformation, and the shape of our economies and societies post-COVID will depend on how well we can progress and narrow these divides.”

...

The share of adults using the Internet ranges from over 95% in some OECD countries to less than 70% in others. Gaps in Internet access or usage due to age or income level mean uneven access to public information and services, especially critical during a pandemic. In a future where jobs, education, healthcare and even social interactions may depend on digital technologies, failing to ensure widespread digital access risks deepening inequalities and hindering countries’ efforts to emerge stronger from the pandemic, the report says.

https://www.oecd.org/digital/covid-19-crisis-accentuating-the-need-to-bridge-digital-divides.htm

The time for closing the digital divide in New Zealand has come!

If you believe that every young person deserves to have equal access to learning, whether it be in lockdown or in school please sign this petition and share with your colleagues and communities. 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!
At 1,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!