WELLINGTON, June 28 NZN - Children need to be confident digital technology users and creators if they're to succeed, Education Minister Nikki Kaye said announcing a $40 million education spending programme.
"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," she said.
The package is divided into three areas, with more than half the total money - $24 million - being spent on upskilling teachers.
That includes $9m for tailored learning and $15m to introduce teachers to the new curriculum for school years one through 10.
"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 to effective learning in the classroom," Kaye announced during a school visit with Prime Minister Bill English in Auckland on Wednesday.
Other aspects of the programme include a shift to online learning through video and audio streaming content and apps, and further trials of online exams through an overall $7m spend.
Kaye's package also includes $6m toward a Digital Technology for All Equity Fund to allow 12,500 students from disadvantaged backgrounds to access digital learning opportunities, and 330,000 scholarships to support digital products or businesses.
"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," she said.
Kaye also launched consultation on new digital content for the New Zealand and Maori-medium curriculums involving all children.
"I'm mindful that while many recognise the importance of digital technologies in education, there will be legitimate concerns about the amount of time students spend online," she said.
"I'd like to reassure families that the safety and wellbeing of students will be an important focus for schools delivering digitally-based learning."