Bridging the digital divide with Apple and Te Pūkenga

A new programme run by Apple and Te Pūkenga promises to help bridge the digital divide for Māori learners in New Zealand.

In New Zealand, Māori and Pasifika are underrepresented in the technology sector; in June, Te Pūkenga and Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) launched a programme to help make technology access more equitable in Aotearoa.  

The new initative involves training thirty teachers from ten schools in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland which serve a high proportion of Māori and Pasifika learners.  

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Teachers will receive training on iOS app development with Swift Playgrounds. The course will involve lessons on app prototyping and design as well as digital media development, computer programming and user experience methodologies. This course will contribute to a micro credential in Digital Technologies Training. Kaiako will receive ongoing support and a device grant from Apple to ensure their learning is implemented effectively in the classroom.  

Pōwhiri for kaiako and Apple kaimahi participating in partnership with Te Pūkenga at Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae. Photo supplied: Unitec | Te Pūkenga.

Peter Winder, Te Pūkenga Chief Executive says “both Apple and Te Pūkenga are focused on delivering equity to traditionally underserved groups.” 

“Reducing barriers to opportunity globally is a core focus of Apple’s” added Alisha Johnson Wilder, Director of REJI. “We’re excited to partner with Te Pūkenga and support their efforts to train and equip educators to help achieve education equity for Māori and Pasifika communities of Aotearoa.”  

Te Pūkenga has committed to creating training specifically designed to enable teachers to have skills and support to teach curriculum using Apple technology. They have also stated they will facilitate in-person workshops with students and the technology industry, to raise the profile of the technology sector among ākonga in New Zealand. Te Pūkenga has added technology to their mission to transform vocational education, focusing on equity and prioritising Māori and Pasifika learners.  

Currently, Māori only make up four percent of the technology sector, despite being 17 percent of New Zealand’s overall population. Pasifika make up only 2.8 percent of the technology sector, though they make up around 8 percent of the general population.  

Naomii Seah

Naomii Seah is a writer and journalist from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. She enjoys crochet, painting, and a coffee or two at the beach. Her work can be found at The Spinoff, The Pantograph Punch, Stuff, and of course, School News NZ.
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