This educational intervention programme began as a pilot project in 1999, in the lowest-income community in the country, its purpose being to raise the digital literacy level of children from low decile schools.
‘To provide all New Zealand families who are socially and economically disadvantaged with a computer, an Internet connection, relevant training and technical support’.
- Empower low socio-economic communities to become active participants in the online world.
- To provide children from these communities with access to online educational resources from home.
The plan of the 20/20 Trust, the registered charity who launched the project, is to provide a recycled computer, Internet access, training and technical support to families who would not otherwise have the opportunity to be part of the online world.
Parents complete computer training at their children’s schools and make a small financial contribution before the PC goes home. They learn basic care of their machine, plus the support procedures set in place via the school. As the scheme has developed, parents have also embraced the learning experience for themselves, so the focus has broadened to family literacy.
In some regions, the steering committees have expanded their vision further to encompass community literacy, and schools report increased school/home communication and more positive interaction between parents and teachers. Some parents have completed university degrees and other qualifications in teaching, social work, computing and the arts.
What began as a project to bridge the digital divide has become a notable contribution to social capital in low income communities.
Refugee Families Government new settler programmes have incorporated CiH into their education strategy for newly arrived refugees, with the additional support of interpreters, family liaison workers, transportation and babysitting to remove barriers to participation. It is envisaged that the access to information for new settlers and the engagement with their children’s schools will assist families to readjust to a new country and become part of the wider community.