How it works – digital skills and access

Parents and cares learn online and digital skills at Taihape Area School.
Parents and carers learn online and digital skills at Taihape Area School.

Computers in Homes provides digital skills training, technical support, computers and home internet to students’ families in participating low-decile schools.

For a cost of $50, the families receive 20 hours of free training, a refurbished computer or device, 12 months’ subsidised internet connection (optional) and technical support.

Having a computer and the internet at home means students can build on what they learn at school and research homework to produce results as well as anyone else.

Since starting in 2000 with a single school, 18,695* families have completed the training, proudly graduated, and taken their computers home for student and family use (*November 2017).

Benefits found

Graduate families collect computers from their school
Families collect computers from their school
Research¹ shows Computers in Homes:

  • increases students’ educational attainment
  • builds valuable computer and online skills in student and family
  • helps parents get more involved in supporting their children’s learning
  • strengthens links and communication between families and schools
  • gives parents new confidence in learning
  • helps family members find work
Parents say

“It will help my son’s school work majorly”
“Benefits for all the family”
“Computers in Homes changed my life”
“This is just the start of my journey. Bigger, Better, Brighter.”
“I always just thought I couldn’t learn… Now I know I can do it” 
“Our lives are better having a computer”
“Jump at the chance!!”

Regional digital skills groups work with schools

Wellington children
Wellington children

Regional Computers in Homes groups work with local schools to implement the Computers in Home model and create their own blogs to keep families informed and provide a platform for feedback. These blogs are linked from Regional Blogs linked in the sidebar.

The national programme is led by the 20/20  Trust, with schools, families, trainers, technicians, computer recyclers, community organisations, government and others.


The project has been funded by the Ministry of Education’s ICT in Schools because Computers in Homes builds on what the children already learn at school. Our funding has been on a one a 1-1 basis; for every dollar of Government funding we provide a dollar of sponsorship, donated goods, services or time.

The Ministry of Education has indicated it will not fund Computers in Homes in its current form beyond July 2017; we are actively working on ways to achieve our goal of all New Zealanders – including families with school-aged children – are digitally connected and enabled.


All funding received has been project-specific, so Computers in Homes does not have pool funding for individual requests for computers. However we do endeavour to put people in touch with other options and we suggest you get in touch with computer refurbishers. We also offer other digital skills training programmes.

Computers in Homes for Refugee Families

Each year the Ministry of Education funds Computers in Homes for 80 – 130 families with refugee background, and we expect this to continue. Training takes place in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Palmerston North, Christchurch and Nelson. The Computers in Homes digital skills based approach helps them use information and communication technology (ICT) as a tool for learning and connection for their whole family.

More information

For more details of


Research (1): From the start, the Computers in Homes programme included measurements of its effects on participants, and a Research Outcomes section is included in the Annual and Half-Year reports published by 20/20. Reports from 2011 to 2017 can be downloaded from the Computers in Homes Outcomes section: please click Outcomes in the top menu bar.  Related academic research papers are linked from the Research page listed under Resources in the menu.