The Ministry of Education is seeking feedback on the draft Digital Technologies | Hangarau Matihiko (DT|HM) curriculum.
Rural Women New Zealand’s (RWNZ) submission supports the curriculum and its intent to prepare New Zealand’s students for the increasingly digital world. However, RWNZ is concerned about the curriculum being applied in rural areas, where there is not equitable access to digital technologies.
The three core issues with implementing the DT|HM curriculum that RWNZ has focused on in the submission are the lack of sufficient funding for rural schools, training for teachers, and access to reliable internet connectivity. RWNZ noted that although access to reliable broadband has improved in rural schools, not all rural homes and communities are sufficiently equipped. Therefore, rural students that do not have access to reliable internet would be unable to complete the required coursework outside of school hours.
“It is vital that all students in New Zealand have access to all learning opportunities,” says RWNZ National President, Fiona Gower. “They shouldn’t be missing these opportunities because of funding or training restrictions or because of where they live. There needs to be equity for all, so no children are left behind in the learning of what is now considered an important part of the curriculum.”
In the submission, RWNZ has requested that the curriculum include a strategic plan that will ensure all schools are provided with adequate resources so that learning outcomes can be consistent across the country. This plan should include a training budget to be used for professional learning and development in the use of digital technologies for teachers; ensuring access to reliable internet connectivity both at school and in homes; and providing all schools and students with the same technology and other resources needed to implement the curriculum.