Leeds Digital Divide
Digital divide is a problem that will not go away even after the Covid-19 vaccine is rolled out, the city council has warned.
15:47 09 December 2020
The digital divide is a problem that will not go away even after the Covid-19 vaccine has been rolled out, councillor Jonathan Pryor has warned. He added that the coronavirus has further highlighted the digital inequality in Leeds between deprived and more affluent families with many disadvantaged children left without reliable internet access for their schooling.
Mr Pryor praised the introduction of the Leeds Tech Angels, a scheme that asks businesses and employers in Leeds to donate unused laptops and tech equipment to young people across the city who are unable to afford the equipment on their own.
Coun Pryor said: “If they are isolated more in the north and people have access to less technology we will only see how that divide is going to widen even further. On top of that, the government is saying children can learn from home but cutting laptop provision so I am not sure how they think that will work.
“If you parents are able to spend time with you learning and providing laptops, your experience will be so much different to where your parents are working multiple jobs, can’t pay for the equipment. They might even be in the same class but the learning experience will be very different. You can’t solve everything in one go but taking laptops away is huge.”
Coun Pryor added: “Everything is done using technology now, from banking to ordering a takeaway. Making sure that children have digital literacy now is an issue that goes beyond coronavirus and we need to make sure that they are ready for the world of work.
“When I was at school it was very different, there was one computer per class room and you might have a go on it at some point during the week. But now work, life - everything is done through screens. If they are going through school with that taken away, they are not preparing them for the world of work or life ahead.