120,000 kids still without internet access at home, warns lobby group
The 20/20 Trust has released its Digital Inclusion Manifesto in the lead up to the election and is calling for all New Zealanders to have affordable access to the internet and "the skills and confidence to use digital technologies for learning, for work and for life".
The Manifesto sets out eight goals covering:
- Full participation in the digital world.
- Equitable access to digital technologies
- Support to access the internet and develop the necessary skills
- Future-focused digital learning opportunities
- School leavers with work-ready digital skills
- Increased productivity for NZ businesses from digitally skilled staff
- Digital skills for a healthy lifestyle
- Seniors connected with their families and communities.
According to 20/20 Trust Chair, Laurence Millar, there is widespread community support for these goals, but few government-funded programmes specifically address New Zealand's digital divide.
"It is often incorrectly assumed that because everyone seems to have a mobile digital device that they are 'digitally literate'," says Millar.
"Our Manifesto calls on government to prioritise digital inclusion and skills as a core element of all its programmes, for education, for employment, for business and for every aspect of New Zealanders' lives."
Millar says 20/20's research shows that digital skills provide "a unique stepping stone to escape from poverty by improving employment and earning capacity" and points out that 120,000 New Zealand children in Year 4 or above live without internet access at home.
"Every political party should make clear their policy on digital inclusion. We look forward to a dialogue with the next government on how New Zealand can achieve full digital inclusion" concluded Mr Millar.
A full copy of the Manifesto including recommendations for the next government is available from the 20/20 website.
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