I think it’s time to have another rant about education! Recently, I have been to meetings and events where a recurring theme has emerged – the looming skills shortage. Just last week at the Woodflow Conference, I was asked how organisations can help their staff learn new skills on this digital journey. Are schools teaching kids these digital skills? At the workshop for developing a national cybersecurity strategy, it was also asked if kids are learning cybersecurity at school. The answer for most schools is no, not yet, but it is critical if we want a safe and prosperous country!
It is becoming increasingly more obvious to me that education is the critical element for our future success as a thriving digital nation. Not only do we need children to be learning appropriate digital skills at school, from an early age, we also need to help young Kiwis who have specialist digital skills transition into the workforce. Meanwhile, we also need to assist the current workforce in learning new skills to stay relevant.
Fortunately, the Digital Technology Curriculum was introduced earlier this year for all ages. To help teachers prepare, $38 million is being invested by the Government. A significant proportion of this is going to the newly launched Digital Readiness programme. To inspire kids and families to be involved, a national schools digital technology competition has been launched and this is being delivered by our sister organisation IT Professionals, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Royal Society Te Ap?rangi.
This week EdTech New Zealand, in collaboration with Conferenz and NZTech, is hosting the annual Education & Technology Summit in Auckland. The summit brings together more than 400 teachers, principals and EdTech entrepreneurs to accelerate the uptake of digital technology learning in schools. It also aims to help develop a fast growing EdTech export sector.
The Digital Skills Forum is also working on a solution to help tertiary graduates gain work experience while they study, so they can be more productive when they enter the workforce. If you work for a firm that hires people with tech skills, please take the time to complete this short five minute survey about internships and work experience.
While it seems plenty of smart people are working on the issue, let’s make sure we gather momentum. I challenge you to look for how you can personally help; encourage your local school to teach the digital tech curriculum, support an intern and explain to everyone you know why digital skills are so important!
Thanks for your help.
PS: You can now register to attend our AGM on 26 July in Auckland.