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Telecom Foundation Extends Funds to Help Bridge Digital Gaps Across Kiwi Schools

June 27, 2014

A recent article in reported how Manaiakalani Education Trust, an Auckland, NZ- based not for profit entity is making it possible for students coming from low-income families in Tamaki to access modern tools for learning. Recently the trust received significant morale boost in the form of a million-dollar funding from the Telecom Foundation.

Education has ceased to be merely a system of text-based learning. With the entry of technology into the classroom, connected devices have become versatile learning aids that make it easier for students to crack the concepts, and more scientific for teachers to conduct an assessment of progress.

While keeping pace with technology has become important for the young learners, a great number of schools -- even in some of the developed countries — have failed to ensure the access to digital learning for all. Auckland’s Manaiakalani Education Trust is committed to bridging this gap and bringing the benefits of digital learning to several new school clusters across New Zealand.

The Trust’s digital learning approach kicked off in 2011 with the help of funds from the Telecom Foundation. Initially, the Foundation agreed to release total $1 million over four years. So far the Trust’s activities have largely been limited to twelve schools in the Tamaki “innovation hub” in Auckland, but the Trust recently awarded significant additional funding from the Foundation.

This additional resource will enable the trust to extend the benefits of digital learning to selected cluster schools across Auckland through an extensive range of activities, which include support for implementation planning, intensive professional learning development induction programs, and assistance with research and evaluation to chart student achievement.

A grant from the Trust will further help cover expenses relating to the bulk purchase of the devices.

Given a long list of positive student outcomes, it is not at all surprising that the foundation has decided to provide an additional $1.2 million funds over the next two years. 

Research conducted in 2013 revealed a major increase in positive student outcomes across all schools in the Tamaki cluster. The digitally supported teaching has helped improve the average students’ standard in writing and mathematics in particular. The research also revealed that the Level 2 NCEA results from Tamaki College were at 80 percent achievement, compared with 26 percent in 2011 and 51 percent in 2012.

 “We’re absolutely delighted to be the catalyst for improving education outcomes and giving these bright young people the chance to shine,” Chair of the Telecom Foundation, Sir Bob Harvey, noted in a statement.

“The skills the children are learning will see them be more successful when they go on to seek jobs and to be positive contributors to building a great New Zealand. This program wouldn’t be possible without both the belief in us, and the significant financial investment of the Telecom Foundation,” Harvey added.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson
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