Equitable Digital Education

The Covid 19 pandemic without doubt is creating profound impact to the life of many people across the world. One of the biggest challenges by COVID-19 is how to transform a physical centric education system into one that is more appropriate in the Covid 19 era.

According to an OECD article related to policy response to Covid 19, at the peak, more than 188 countries, encompassing around 91% of enrolled learners worldwide, closed their schools to try to contain the spread of the virus.

It obvious, the closures of schools have a very serious impact on students in every parts of the world, but especially on the most vulnerable ones who are more likely to face additional barriers. As stated in the OECD article – Children and youth from low-income and single-parent families; immigrant, refugee, ethnic minority and indigenous backgrounds; and those with special education needs suffer by being deprived of physical learning opportunities, social and emotional support available in schools and extra services such as school meals.

The above mentioned groups risk falling further behind and becoming isolated with school closed. These groups are very likely to lose the most in terms of educational outcomes and the support provided by schools if countries take insufficient measures to promote educational equity and inclusivity.

GIUF is deeply concerned on the plight of the lower income families which are further deprived in getting access to basic education due to the digital divide created by the new normal resulting from the Covid 19 pandemic.

We would like to see many of these underprivileged families to be provided basic needs of the new normal – affordable digital devices supported by an effectively accessible broadband services. Otherwise, as stated by the OECD, the gap between “have-and-have-NOT” will definitely widened and may also be irreversible in many years to come.

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