New Zealand Labour Party

Overseas investor funds school’s digital devices

The Government must address the inequality laptops and tablets in classrooms are causing after a Queenstown school was forced to use a donation from an overseas investor to get their students digital devices, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.

“Documents obtained by Labour show the decile 10 Wakatipu High School used a $100,000 donation after identifying up to 30 per cent of its students’ parents would need assistance to purchase digital devices. The college used $30,000 of the donation to train its teachers in e-learning.

“If parents at a decile 10 school can’t afford digital devices for their kids, how can those at other schools be expected to?

“The Government was advised by its own taskforce in 2014 that it needed to set up an equity fund to ensure Bring Your Own Device to school policies don’t cause low income children to fall behind.

“However National simply ignored the recommendation and has continued to turn a blind eye to the growing digital divide.

“The Government is completely out of touch with the pressure families are under when it comes to their kids’ schooling. Even middle income families are feeling the squeeze because National has under-funded education.

“School kids shouldn’t have to rely on overseas investors to ensure they get their fair shot at education. The law guarantees every Kiwi kid a free schooling, and that’s what the Government has a responsibility to fund,” Chris Hipkins says.