Tens of thousands of Kiwi kids lack internet, devices for online learning

Tuesday is the official start of term two for most school children. Many - those with computers - will have switched to learning online.

But for the tens of thousands of Kiwi kids who don't have the Internet, let alone a device, they're desperately waiting for workbooks and devices from the Ministry of Education.

Learning in lockdown isn't all laptops and Zoom calls. For many families it's pencils, paper and patience.

At decile one schools like Sunset Primary in Rotorua, the start of term two isn't a fun trial of schooling from home.

"Only 18 percent of our students have access to a device to learn with at home and only 60 percent of our families have internet," says Sunset Primary School Principal Eden Chapman.

So teaching via video call is just impossible.

Fortunately students were sent home with bags full of worksheets. Many were also sent home with the school's food because half of Chapman's 115 students rely on charity KidsCan for lunch.

And at the Poi house, those worksheets were what made structured 'classes' today possible.

"Don't have much of an idea what the curriculum is or what's needed for the kids to learn. If it was just up to me and my wife we'd just be improvising," says father Fender Leathers.

But they might have to start improvising soon. The worksheets won't last long as 11-year-old Eden is racing through them:

Plus delays on the much-needed workbooks promised by the Ministry of Education is adding to their stress.

While they wait, from tomorrow, for the first time in New Zealand school will be broadcast on television.

At the very earliest some schools may be able to open at the end of the month but for most that's unlikely, which will only exacerbate the difficulties for those in decile one schools like Sunset Primary.

"Some of them will have been in very difficult situations over the last four weeks," Chapman says.

"We may have some real trauma that we have to help kids with."

Home schooling - highlighting how not all students have equal opportunities.