Pilot Project to Help Bridge Digital Divide
30 April 2007 at 12:07 pm
Corporate donors and grant makers have joined with the Victorian Government to fund a pilot project to help bridge the digital divide.
Primary school students in Melbourne’s inner west are to take part in a pilot project that will provide refurbished, internet-connected computers to 400 disadvantaged families for use in their homes.
The Government has committed up to $740,000 to the project with other contributions and resources coming from the Gandel Charitable Trust, The Victoria University, Microsoft, the Pratt Foundation, Smorgon Steel and the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust.
Minister for Victorian Communities Peter Batchelor says the notion of a digital divide is the 21st century equivalent of the divide between those who went to school and those who did not in the late 19th and early 20th century.
He says as technology continues to evolve, the Internet is becoming increasingly important as an essential household and business resource and a gateway to new opportunities.”
Led by the Victorian Premier’s wife, Mrs Terry Bracks, the Computer for Every Child Project has already provided computers, Internet access and training to about 70 families. The project will now be extended to a further 400 families.
Participating families have agreed to computer training and pay $50. There are large numbers of Horn of Africa and Vietnamese families participating in the pilot.
The Government says the Computer for Every Child Project is a good example of what can be achieved when it works collaboratively with the private sector and the Not for Profit sector to assist disadvantaged groups.
Fundraising from the corporate and philanthropic sectors is being led by Technology Access for Social Development Australia, a Not for Profit company with tax-deductible status and progress will be evaluated by a group from the School of Education at Victoria University.
The project is based on a successful program in Israel which has seen over 18,000 computers installed in the homes of disadvantaged Israeli families.