Lockdown-induced school closures have disrupted the education of millions of students around the world, but thanks to virtual classes many were still able to continue their learning. For those with disadvantaged backgrounds though, a lack of access to the internet has put a halt to their educational development altogether.
To tackle this disparity, the UK government has recently announced that it will offer free internet access for six months to help disadvantaged youngsters continue their education online.
Funded by multinational telecommunications firm BT and the Department for Education, the initiative will provide 10,000 families in England with vouchers for internet access at five million Wi-Fi hotspots around the country.
Local authorities and academies will be asked to bid for vouchers for families in their schools without internet access or who cannot afford data and the Department for Education will determine the allocations.
Most primary and secondary pupils are still out of school and learning online, but there have been concerns about a “digital divide” with poorer pupils missing out. School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said everything possible would be done to “make sure no child, whatever their background, falls behind as a result of coronavirus”.