Britain digital divide exposed by the coronavirus

Research conducted on over 8,000 showed that an average of 10 percent of their students were not attending online classes as a result of the digital divide in the UK. The government has pledged to invest in online learning to ensure the gap is reduced.

School closures in Britain were necessary to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Transition to online learning as an alternative of face to face learning was implemented countrywide as a means to implement safety measures in schools.

The digital divide

However, this move has exposed the country’s digital divide between the poor and rich kids. A study by the Education Endowment Foundation showed that school closures across the country would result in a 7.5 percent drop in UK’s achievement gap. This was partly as a result of the digital divide that that exists in the UK.

With most learning activities having migrated to online classes, a good chunk of British kids have not been able to keep up with the lessons. The lack of access to resources such as the internet and devices.

Lack of resources

Most online classes are designed for usage in a laptop, however, in a household, the availability of a personal computer is not always a guarantee. The next best next device now becomes a smartphone, which may not be enough for all the siblings in a household and may not have enough data for the kids to access the classes.

The lack of access to online classes has become worrisome to teachers, who indicate that many of their students are missing online classes. In a daily survey carried out in April by Teacher Tapp, and that involved over 8,000 teachers, found that teachers indicated that an average of 10 percent of their students were not attending online classes.

This meant that millions of students across the UK were missing out on learning due to the digital divide that ensured poor students do not have the required devices for the online classes.

The government, having taken note of the disparity, through the Department for Education, Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, announced that they would be investing £85 million, which will be used to get more than 200,000 devices for disadvantaged families. This was in a bid to reduce the gap in the digital divide.