Telecom Foundation funding sparks digital learning in Kiwi schools

The Manaiakalani Education Trust is to receive an additional $1.2 million over the next two years from the Telecom Foundation.

This significant additional funding will support the rollout of the Manaiakalani digital learning approach to more low income communities.

The Telecom Foundation’s funding means that several new school clusters across New Zealand benefit from the unique Manaiakalani model of digital learning. Pilots are taking place in clusters of schools in the Kaikohe, Mt Roskill in Auckland, Otaki and Porirua communities.

“We’re absolutely delighted to be the catalyst for improving education outcomes and giving these bright young people the chance to shine,” Sir Bob Harvey, Chair of the Telecom Foundation, says.

“In a nutshell, we’re making it possible for other communities to benefit from the many years of learning and fine tuning that have taken place within Tamaki. This announcement of additional funding is a superb lead into us becoming the Spark Foundation in August, when Telecom changes its name to Spark!”

The Telecom Foundation’s original investment was $1 million over four years. Until now the activities of the Manaiakalani Education Trust have largely focused on twelve schools in the Tamaki ‘innovation hub’ in Auckland.

The additional investment from the Telecom Foundation will fund an extensive range of activities to assist the selected cluster schools to establish the Manaiakalani learning approach.

These activities include support for implementation planning, intensive professional learning development induction programmes, and assistance with research and evaluation to chart student achievement. Additionally, there is a grant from the Manaiakalani Education Trust to assist in underwriting the financial liability of device bulk purchase, and continued support of the Tamaki Manaiakalani ‘innovation hub’.

A major increase in positive student outcomes was evident across all schools in the Tamaki cluster, shows research conducted in 2013. In particular, improvements were documented in writing and mathematics. Further results show that Level 2 NCEA results from Tamaki College were at 80% achievement, compared with 26% in 2011 and 51% in 2012.

“We exist because of the need to provide equal opportunities to those in low income communities, and to provide these students with the means to access modern tools for modern learning,” Pat Snedden, Chair of the Manaiakalani Education Trust, says.

“The skills the children are learning will see them be more successful when they go onto seek jobs and to be positive contributors to building a great New Zealand. This programme wouldn’t be possible without both the belief in us, and the significant financial investment of the Telecom Foundation.”

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