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The digital gap- should we be doing more?

What is a digital divide? 

The digital divide is a form of social inequality where there is a gap between demographics and regions that have access to more technology to support teaching and learning. There is an underlining and growing digital divide in the UK and the hardest hit are children. Over 700,000 children are unable to complete their schoolwork due to a lack of internet at home. 

What are the risks? 

With such a divide comes consequences. Students who are in a less fortunate position cannot educate from home with the same support or at the same pace as those who have access to the right tech good internet speeds. You are not going to get the best out of all your students with these systematic roadblocks in the way. 

Links to economic hardship 

Ultimately the digital divide stems from economic depravity. The less reported household income the less likely you are to have access to the internet or tech to support a modern education. 42% of households with an annual income of £15,000 or less do not have access to the internet as we know from the recent pandemic, that impacts education in the long term. 

What can be done? 

Back a bill. MPs are backing a bill which will be presented in parliament to provide broadband connectivity and devices to those who currently qualify for free school meals. Siobhain McDonagh, the labour MP behind the bill states: “This policy isn’t a silver bullet and can’t replace months of missed education. But it would make an immediate, tangible difference to families right across our country.” 

Crisis proofing our education 

As we’ve seen from going through the Coronavirus pandemic there needs to better frameworks in place for temporary education outside of the classroom. To get this right the basics need to be in place first and that starts with getting the internet and other supporting tech into the hands of children who don’t currently have it.  

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