Tackling the digital divide
With schools closed during lockdown 3, teaching has moved online but what happens to children who don’t have access to a computer at home?
We found that over 30% of the children Jacari supports don’t have access to an online device. This means they can’t take part in online lessons arranged by their schools or access learning resources.
The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting school closures have put a spotlight on the digital divide. Many families only have one laptop or tablet which is shared between multiple children, or adults if they have to work from home. Some have no devices and can’t afford internet connections at home.
Schools are over-stretched and unable to provide laptops to all of their pupils. A November 2020 Teach First report found that four out of five schools with the poorest pupils do not have enough devices and internet access to ensure all pupils can keep learning at home.
Here at Jacari, we are doing everything we can to support our pupils during this challenging time. Our volunteer tutors are supporting their pupils through weekly online lessons. If a child doesn’t have a laptop or tablet, they are using video chat apps on mobile phones. Tutors and their pupils have even been writing letters to each other!
Tutoring and online support, such as that provided by Jacari volunteers, are the best ways to boost disadvantaged children's learning disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic so tackling the digital divide and getting kids online is a top priority for us.
In December, we put out an appeal for laptop and tablet donations in our social media and newsletters. Since the new year, we have received 12 devices which have been wiped and refurbished and delivered to Jacari families. We have also been generously donated 5 laptops a month from Oxford Pharmagenesis.
A teacher from one of our partner schools told us about the impact of Jacari tuition:
“Jacari has been fantastic at adapting their tuition services to the Covid crisis. Since September they have been offering online tuition to our students whose families had access to laptops. However, for a variety of reasons the majority of our students do not have access to laptops at home.
Jacari has gone above and beyond to enable these students to continue the essential tuition they receive from their wonderful tutors … Most recently they have provided a number of our students laptops at home, enabling them to continue their online tuition during lockdown 3. This has been incredibly well received by our students and their families, not only to have access to their online tuition but also to the home learning provided by the school.”