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Eltham celebrates largest graduation in country

posted Nov 9, 2010, 10:22 PM by Karen Cave   [ updated Feb 19, 2017, 3:21 PM ]

2nd July 2008

GRADUATES from the 2008 Eltham Computers in Homes project

THIRTY-SEVEN Eltham families celebrated on Monday, June 30, at New Zealand's largest ever Computer in Homes graduation.

This is the sixth graduation for the Eltham Computers in Homes programme and the largest nationally, with 180 attendees including many Members of Parliament and prominent members of the community.

The event was held at the Eltham Town Hall. Speakers included MP Harry Duynhoven, MP Chester Burrows, MP Turiana Turia South Taranaki District Mayor Ross Dunlop and national co-ordinator Di Das.

All of the speakers congratulated the students/parents for their amazing achievements and told them all to be proud of their accomplishments.

"The idea behind this programme was to bring computers into the homes of children to raise their literacy levels. This programme has now expanded to help the entire family and community. It is a vital project for the future and has amazing results for the recipients," said mayor Ross Dunlop.

Through the national Computers in Homes programme, local families are provided with computers and internet access along with training, skills and support to use this technology, via their local schools.

The programme brings computer technology within reach of all New Zealand families with school-aged children, and allows parents and grandparents to connect with their childrens learning.

During the programme parents receive 20-hours of basic computer training, including word processing, emailing and using the internet, conducted at their children's school or a local community hub.

The training is aimed at empowering parents to become actively involved in their children's learning, as well as increasing their own employment opportunities and confidence. Results from the programme have included employment success and continued education. Ms Das said the programme has also seen a number of parents actively engaging with their school for the first time.

Computers in Homes estimates more than 100,000 New Zealand families with school-aged children in low-income communities still don't have a computer at home. The organisation was in Eltham to both celebrate local achievements and raise awareness of the programme to encourage Government and business to scale up their support for the programme

"We are encouraged by the level of support from MPs from Labour, National and the Maori party that were present. We do hope regional celebrations such as Eltham's will encourage the Government and businesses to expand their support for the programme to ensure it gets the funding it needs to connect the other 100,000 families in New Zealand without a computer and the internet," said Computers in Homes' national co-ordinator, Di Das.

Ms Das said New Zealand's 2006 Census results reinforce the need for funding and support to establish and develop Computers in Homes into a national programme and policy. "Thirty-seven percent of households with school-aged children are without the internet in the South Taranaki District according to the 2006 Census. This compares to the North Shore District, which has only thirteen percent of households without internet access," she said.

"South Taranaki is a priority region as the district ranks 57th for internet access out of 73 districts in New Zealand. Computers in Homes has helped to connect some of these South Taranaki families, but there are many more here and across the country who are waiting to be included."

The programme started in 2000, and has already supported more than 4,000 New Zealand families with recycled computers, six months of free internet access, computer training and technical support.

The programme began in Eltham in 2005, with 15 families based at Eltham Primary School. At the end of 2005, the programme linked with the Eltham Community Care Group and received funding from the TSB Community Trust.

In 2006, the programme joined forces with the South Taranaki District Council and moved into their council building. In June, nine families graduated, with another 12 graduating in October.

In 2007, 22 families graduated in June, with another 21 families in October.

In September, the Eltham programme won a national award for Excellence in Adult Community Education and the two tutors Christina Turner and Karen Cave gained national qualifications.

"We receive numerous emails of thanks from participants in the programme. It opens up a whole new world of opportunity for families who participate. One success story for Eltham is that a first year graduate is now a qualified tutor for the course."

Ms Das said Computers in Homes is an initiative of the 2020 Communications Trust, with support from the Ministry of Education and the Government's Digital Strategy Community Partnership Fund. The 2020 Trust is looking for funding and support to expand Computers in Homes to all low-income communities where children do not have access to computers and the internet in their homes.

For more information visit www.computersinhome.org.nz

GRADUATES from the 2008 Eltham Computers in Homes project with local MPs and prominent members of the community.