Scheme gives internet access to families

EVAN HARDING
Last updated 05:00 19/04/2014

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The world of the internet is opening up for 50 Southland families.

A Computer in Homes programme, funded by the government and sponsors, is allowing 50 families in the region to each receive a free recycled computer, 20 hours of free computer training and a subsidised internet connection for one year.

Southern REAP, which provides education initiatives across the region, has the contract for the Computers In Homes programme in Southland.

Programme co-ordinator Janine Walker said some of the parents receiving the free computers had never used them before. The internet had opened up a whole new world to them.

But the "main gist" of the programme was so parents could help their children with their homework using the computer, "whereas in the past these kids had no internet access at all".

Rii Wainui, who said grandchildren stayed at her house every night of the week, was among those who would receive a computer.

She had learnt to use the email and do searches on YouTube, she said.

Now her grandchildren would be able to do their homework on the computer when staying over.

Census figures revealed there were 62,000 households in New Zealand with school-aged children without access to the internet in their homes, Walker said.

"This disadvantages around 200,000 children, or 25 per cent of the school-age population, in terms of their learning opportunities."

Computers in Homes operates in 20 low income communities in the country, working mainly through decile 1-3 schools.

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