The announcement that digital technology is to be formally integrated into the New Zealand Curriculum has been welcomed, although there are calls from the IT sector for more funding and for digital technology to be given its own learning subject area.
Education Minister Hekia Parata made the announcement yesterday at the NZTech Advance Education Technology Summit in Auckland.
“This is the first change to the New Zealand Curriculum since its introduction in 2007 and reflects our Government’s commitment to championing 21st century practice in teaching and learning,” says Ms Parata.
“It will ensure that we have an education system that prepares children and young people for a future where digital fluency will be critical for success.”
The decision is an outcome of the Government’s Science and Society Strategic Plan ‘A Nation of Curious Minds: Te Whenua Hihiri i te Mahara’.
MYOB NZ General Manager James Scollay welcomes the integration of digital technology into the curriculum. As a leading employer in the IT industry he thinks New Zealand’s future prosperity is inextricably linked to our ability to compete digitally.
“The speed of technological transformation is accelerating,” says Scollay. “It’s impossible to predict what IT products and services will be commonplace when today’s schoolkids enter the workforce. That’s why it’s so important that the curriculum teaches young people about how to think and operate in the digital world. Digital fluency is the new language of the global economy.”
However some groups think it is an opportunity wasted.
The Institute of IT Professionals NZ (IITP) says it is disappointed that digital technology has not been moved into its own subject learning area following recommendations from the sector.
“It’s like telling a subject as essential as Maths that they have to be a part of PE. Both are important, but they’re simply different things,” says IITP chief executive Paul Matthews.
IITP also says the tech industry is disappointed at the lack of real funding in this area, and the time lost over several years in arriving at a decision on this.
The NZACDITT (New Zealand Association for Computing, Digital and Information Technology Teachers) agrees more funding is needed and that a clear subject area is warranted. It also says the shortage in supply of Digital Technologies teachers who are adequately trained to deliver to curriculum learning objectives must be addressed.
From now until the end of 2017, the Government will consult with stakeholders, design new curriculum content, and develop achievement objectives across the whole learner pathway. It will be fully integrated into the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa in 2018.