One of the key topics under the school closure due to COVID-19 is how we could support the disadvantaged children who have no internet access due to poverty, geographical reasons or other challenges. There are a number of articles on this topic and the below are some summaries as concrete actions points.
For students who are not connected to the internet:
While internet access through mobile phones has rapidly been increasing, the number of people who subscribe to broadband has not. As of 2017, only an average of 13.76 per 100 people had broadband worldwide. The highest rate was 41.58 out of 100 in the Republic of Korea (South Korea). The data also indicate that many students do not have internet access through broadband wifi at home, and also lack personal computers or large tablets that are suitable for effective learning.
Under COVID-19 conditions, schools are closed and students are at home. While making sure that digital materials, platforms and applications are available, internet infrastructure reaching these learners needs to be established to connect teachers and students for effective learning. In China, Japan, Finland, the United States and other countries, schools and local government have begun lending personal computers, tablets and wifi devices to students.
In some cases, private companies are also donating used and new devices to students. Telecommunication companies also play an important role to provide fast internet packages at discount prices.
The recommendations below illustrate actions and solutions that have already been implemented in some countries:
Recommendations / Possible Solutions
- Conduct quick surveys of learning conditions at home
- Local governments and schools lend devices such as computers, tablets and wifi routers to students
- Local distributors funded by government lend devices to students
- Private companies and agencies donate new and used devices to students
- Request telecommunication companies discount fast internet package for students
- Share one tablet among four students in small groups when allowed
- Provide printing materials for students who do not have to internet
Related cases / articles
- Distance Learning During The Coronavirus Pandemic: Equity And Access Questions For School Leaders
- Equity Isn’t Just About Technology. It’s About Supporting Students and Families. | EdSurge News
- Three ways to plan for equity during the coronavirus school closures | World Education Blog
- Coronavirus: How to maintain continuity of education | Op-eds – Gulf News
- How to Keep School Rhythm and Routines for Young Children at Home | EdSurge News
- On The Move To Remote Learning