At Orion Health our core values are Open, Trusted and Courageous. So when we feel strongly about an issue, we believe it’s important to stand up and be heard.
Dear Hon Hekia Parata,
We acknowledge your announcement last week of modest changes to the Digital Technology curriculum for New Zealand schools, following a long review period. This review presented a huge opportunity for the future of New Zealand and the success of our children. However, we believe that the fundamental problems with this subject have not been addressed.
Consequently, unless your Ministry takes a bolder stance, our children will continue to be educationally disadvantaged and under-skilled for high paying tech jobs. In addition, tech sector growth will continue to be hindered and we will become increasingly reliant on immigration for technical staff.
As has been highlighted on many occasions, the root cause of the problem is that Digital Technology is taught as a non- academic vocational subject alongside woodwork, metalwork, cookery and sewing. This situation has to change if we are to attract academic and skilled students into an industry that is already a signicant driver of our country’s economic growth.
The first essential change is that Digital Technology has to be separated from these vocational subjects and become a standalone subject of significance, on a par with maths and science. Our secondary school students should be presented with an academic option developing their ability to understand computer logic, code and design.
There were many excellent recommendations to come out of the 12-month review in 2015 that was carried out by the Ministry of Education, Industry, educationalists and others such as the Institute of IT Professionals, but adoption of these recommendations has mostly been ignored. In today’s world, technical and digital literacy is of equal importance to English literacy and it is essential that progress be made in the way we educate and prepare our children.
It has taken six years to get to this point, including a 12-month review and a further seven months of deliberations. Minister Parata, how much longer do our children have to wait?
Time is of the essence as the pace of technological change accelerates every day. Every month we deliberate, every year we spend on reviews, results in another group of children missing out. We are writing not only as members of the tech community, but also as parents. We ask that you treat this matter with urgency. It is too important for our children, our industry and the future success of our nation.
Orion Health CEO
The Mind Lab Chair
Animation Research CEO