Global technology programme piloted in South Auckland schools

Issue: Volume 98, Number 8

Posted: 20 May 2019
Reference #: 1H9uBU

Two New Zealand secondary schools have now joined a global programme aiming to create industry-ready technology graduates.

Zynan Fagan is interacting with a classmate Chaelim McCarthy who is wearing VR goggles, with fellow student Ayaan Shah in the foreground

Two South Auckland secondary schools have been the first to incorporate the New Zealand pilot of the global ‘Pathways in Technology’ programme into their curricula.

Pathways in Technology, also known as P-TECH, was launched by IBM in the US in 2011 and aims to bridge the gap between the skills students are learning and the skills needed in a workforce that relies increasingly on digital technology.

Aorere College and Manurewa High School have signed on, partnering with IBM, The Warehouse Group and Manukau Institute of Technology. The pilot programme heralds the growing focus of both schools on personalised curriculum pathways for senior students that include digital technology.

Aorere College Principal Gregory Pierce says that the programme will begin with a cohort of Year 10 students, who will start in Term 3.

“This pathway will see them graduating from P-TECH with NCEA qualifications and a New Zealand diploma aligned to industry needs,” he says.

“Workplace experience will also play a part in the programme. There’ll be intern placements at partner organisations IBM and The Warehouse on offer to successful applicants, so what form the intern roles at these companies might take is currently under discussion.”

These schools aim to support students through a five-year programme beginning in NCEA Level 1 and finishing at tertiary level at Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT).

Curriculum alignment

Gregory says the revised learning area in the curriculum for Years 1–13 aligns well with the P-TECH programme.

“Digital Enquiry is already a compulsory core Year 9 subject at Aorere and will become a gateway subject to further study,” he says.

“The focus is on developing students’ key competencies and soft skills as well as the technical proficiencies of programming, coding and data storage.”

These skills are becoming increasingly in demand as workplaces become reliant on complex information systems, with a report commissioned by the Digital Skills Forum in 2017 highlighting a significant and growing shortage of digital skills in New Zealand. The programme will be tailored by the schools and MIT to ensure that students are graduating with these skills.

Employment pathways

“One of our key outcomes for students is mapping next steps for when they leave us, whatever that looks like,” says Manurewa High School Principal Peter Jones.

“We’ve started looking to get more Māori and Pasifika students into technical roles because the roles that are coming up in terms of future employment, they are going to be more technical, particularly from an IT perspective,” he says. “The more we can do to help our kids get on that pathway, the better. ”

Aorere College Year 10 student Sixta Uea says that she valued the opportunity to collaborate with other students at the launch.

“It was actually really fun working with other people in my class and understanding how technology works.”

For more information about:

Pathways in Technology programme(external link)

The New Zealand Digital Skills Forum report(external link) released in 2017.


BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 8:52 am, 20 May 2019

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