Homeschooling without Broadband or Laptops
Efforts to provide broadband access and free learning devices hoped to bridge digital divide during pandemic.
10:01 22 January 2021
Between 1.1million and 1.8million children do not currently have access to tablets, desktops or laptops for their home-schooling during the Covid-19 pandemic, Ofcom has recently revealed. This creates a huge problem for youngsters whose face-to-face education is disrupted.
To fill in the gap, various private companies and charities are helping the local and national government raise funds. The London Grid for Learning (LGFL), for example, has launched a scheme called Bridge the Divide for the procurement of devices like Chromebook and Winbook.
Mobile operators are also chipping in and have promised to zero-rate certain education sites. Vodafone, Three, O2, Plusnet MObile, BT Mobile and EE, on the other hand, have said that online materials provided by the Oak National Academy educational website will be free to access until schools reopen.
BT has also launched a Lockdown Learning Programme to offer a £10 monthly fixed broadband tariff for low-income families called BT Basic. Hyperoptic, a superfast provide that operates in major cities, is also offering full fibre broadband for free for the rest of the school year to households that are able to get its network.
Interested parties who have unwanted laptops and tablets are encouraged to donate their devices to a number of charities and groups. Many schools are accepting equipment directly while BBC radio stations help to coordinate donations by liaising with organisations across the UK.