Plans to launch a specialist computing school for seventh formers in Christchurch are proceeding well, says Canterbury Development Corporation education strategy manager Graeme Plummer.
About 50 of the 80 available places at the Christchurch College of Computing havve been filled and the expected the roll to be fully occupied by the time the college opens next month.
"There will be an advertising period from January 15 to 25 and we'll pick up more enrolments."
The college premises in central Christchurch are being fitted out and staff, picked from IT teacher ranks, will be finalised when student numbers are confirmed, he says.
The college is publicly funded and will involve students taking core bursary subjects such as maths and economics as well as specialised computer courses.
"They'll be able to gain a whole range of Microsoft MCP, Cisco and Cambridge qualifications - there's a whole range available."
Christchurch Polytechnic's Certificate of IT is another qualification students will be able to opt for and Jade programming is another choice.
The course is publicly funded for New Zealand students and a few overseas fee-paying students have also applied, Plummer says.
"Entry requirements are the same as for bursary at other schools."
The main industry sponsor is Hewlett-Packard and others, such as Right Hemisphere and Renaissance, are also supporting the college.
The course will involve work experience in the industry, Plummer says and the teachers will be "people comfortable with a different approach to senior education - we're trying to break that standard 20th century mould."
In August, when plans for the college were announced, Plummer said "we really want to break the mould of traditional IT education - [mainstream] schools can't keep up with technology developments and don't have the resources."