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Bill Bennett


Tech sector gives Education Minister not achieved

No plan to prepare for digital age

Xero managing director Anna Curzon writes in for Stuff:

“It’s about time digital technology was recognised as an important topic of education because it’s crucial we prepare our next generation for tomorrow’s world.”

Someone could have written the same words any time in the last 40 years. It’s not a new idea. People said the same when I was at school in the 1970s. We ran similar comments when I edited The Dominion’s Computer Pages in the 1980s.

The idea is no more crucial today than it was before. Imagine how many Xeros, Vends and Orions we could have now if government listened then.

The difference is that we now have a vibrant home-grown technology sector to show the benefits technology-savvy citizens can bring.

Role models

We also now have successful role models; articulate industry leaders able to argue the case for technology. Curzon is one of them.

They run companies that bring in valuable export dollars. Their contribution to the economy is more reliable than the bust-boom cycles from, say, the dairy industry.

That alone should get them a hearing.

It’s chilling that after the effort industry leaders and others have put into explaining this, the Minister of Education and her officials ignored them.

There’s always a danger when industries push sector-based education agenda. It would be a disaster if, say, dairy leaders talked schools into adding dairy-farming to the curriculum.

Yet digital technology is hardly special pleading. It is as fundamental to the 21st century as reading, writing and arithmetic. These days digital technology is reading, writing and arithmetic.



3 thoughts on “Tech sector gives Education Minister not achieved

  1. Not sure I agree. Anything on the education syllabus would be outdated by the time it made it to the syllabus, let alone by the time kids left school. While I certainly don’t have any problem with teaching some basic understanding of the underlying principles, I think most kids are well proficient in the USE of technology long before they arrive at school. Using technology for reading, maths, research is almost second nature to most children.

    1. I agree totally. We need to add the basic principles to the school curriculum, not specifics. Oddly, I did just that in the 1970s as a sixth former.

  2. Tech is just another tool that folk use to achieve things.
    What really matters is the attitude, vision, mind and soul of the user.

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