5 Jul 2014

Labour eyes computers for school pupils

10:51 pm on 5 July 2014

Labour Party leader David Cunliffe says a Labour-led Government will help provide all students in years 5 - 13 (aged about nine and above) with a portable digital device.

Labour is holding its election-year congress in Wellington and will announce its education policy on Sunday.

Mr Cunliffe said - outside the conference - it was expected that by 2017 all children and young people would use personal digital devices for their learning.

He said that to ensure no Kiwi child was disadvantaged by their parents' financial situation, Labour would provide an affordable way to purchase a portable computer.

Mr Cunliffe said Labour would provide a $100 kick-start to reduce the costs and a $5 million hardship fund would be created to help families who cannot afford the payments or who fall into arrears.

He also said Labour would provide $25 million for professional development for teachers to ensure they were well prepared for the use of digital devices.

And he said it would also rebuild schools so they can adapt to the new digital future.

"What we're talking about is improved design, stuff that's technology-friendly, open flexible spaces, room for flexible class sizes..."

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No detail - National

National says Labour's plan to provide students from Year 5 (nine-year-olds) with portable computers does not appear to have been thought through.

Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye says there is no detail on how Labour is going to deal with rapid changes in technology or interest costs, or whether the plan is limited to one device throughout the period of the student's time in school.