Following the successful Books in Homes scheme comes Computers in Homes. The Ministry of Education is contributing $10,000 to the brainchild of the 2020 Communications Trust. At the Porirua launch in July, Minister of Education Trevor Mallard said, “If left unchecked, the digital divide has the potential to damage opportunities for individuals, communities and the ability for all New Zealanders to participate in the knowledge economy.” Enabling families to "become wired", the scheme also aims to promote positive relationships between members of the community and offers opportunities for students to become key role models. Cannons Creek School in Porirua and Panmure Bridge School in Auckland are pilot schools. Both are decile 1a schools. This indicates communities in greatest need socially, economically and health status. Both have a high proportion of Maori and Pacific Islands students. Twenty-five families from each school with a child of eight years or older in the family participate. Each family receives a PC, provided by accredited recyclers, with a word processing program, modem and internet access to an ISP. A phone line with access to an ISP only may be provided. Technical support, six months’ flat-rate internet access and training sessions are included. Each family pays a small amount to participate and agrees to train at least one other person and to give their children supervised access for one hour per school day. Victoria University is conducting research to review improvements in IT skills and other related educational topics for both the parents and children. Similar studies in the US have shown that such projects can result in parents moving off welfare. Two rural Bay of Plenty schools are next on the programme. The 2020 Communications Trust promotes access to the benefits of information and communications technology networks. Such work is often carried out by dedicated non-proft organizations such as 2020, e vision and the Talklink Trust, or visionaries like Neil Scott at the former Wellington Polytechnic.
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