Rotorua schools are welcoming the launch of a $6 million fund to help students access digital tools and knowledge.

The All Equity Fund was announced by Education Minister Chris Hipkins last week. It is one part of a $38m government funding package to make digital technologies more accessible for students.

That package also includes around $24m to help teachers and kaiako prepare to teach the new curriculum content.

The All Equity Fund is available for 12,500 children a year over three years and will be available to schools at decile 3 and below.


Bob Stiles, Owhata School principal, said his decile 3 school would definitely apply for a piece of the funding.

"It will be fantastic for our students to have access to digital learning.

"Equity of access will be fantastic, it will give more opportunities to more students."

Stiles said it was important for all to have access to digital learning.

"It's just so important children are learning on devices straight away. It enhances their learning or reading, writing and arithmetic in a way they are familiar with."

Kaitao Intermediate is a decile 2. Principal Phil Palfrey said anything that supported digital learning was positive.

"Digital learning is the way of the future. It's about having students not just being users of IT but using IT to problem solve."

Palfrey liked the name of the fund: All Equity.


"That's what it's about, providing equity that's how I see it. I want kids to have the same opportunities and facilities as my kids did."

Hipkins said the fund was valuable.

"It's really important that all children are given the opportunity to improve their digital literacy to prepare them for the modern workforce.

"The fund is about ensuring that students who may otherwise have limited access to digital technologies aren't missing out."

Rotorua Principals' Association president and Rotokawa School principal Briar Stewart said digital devices were a difficult thing to manage and schools had a range of models, from bring your own device, to leasing devices, and paying them off.

"For me, equity is when every child has the same amount of access without any financial barrier."

At her decile 5 school, devices are provided by the school and stay on school property.

Stewart said using decile to allocate the funds was an even-handed approach but there were needy children across all schools.

"It's not for schools to identify who is more needy and who is not. Decile is as even-handed as we can be without intruding on people's private lives and information."

Stewart said a balance needed to be struck between using digital technology as a tool and ensuring students were able to work in a digital world.

"We need balanced kids that can communicate and respect other people's opinions.

"There's a lot of learning that has to go on. They also need to learn cyber safety and the tools to walk away when something is not going right."