After the national lockdown declaration, educational institutions in the UK immediately transitioned to a remote education outlook overnight. After some, understandably, initial hiccups, as all involved (teachers, students, parents) struggled to adapt to digital teaching and learning, online lessons began to operate with minimal disturbance. However, the shift to online learning was not as seamless for all, introducing new challenges for nearly 1.6 billion children globally who lack the necessary access to ideal technology, widening what many refer to as the digital divide.
The “digital divide” is a phrase that’s thrown around increasingly, but what does it actually mean? Simply put, it’s the disparity between those with internet access and those without, or educationally speaking, those with the ideal technology for digital learning at home.
The educational digital divide is not a new phenomenon and has long since been an indicator of inequity relating to the correlation in academic success between students who have appropriate access to technology and those who do not, as technological know-how grows stature in the national curriculum. It’s unquestionably the less fortunate students whose continuity of learning took the biggest hit and continues to, as such, the effectiveness of educational systems globally remains tested during this COVID-19 period, as institutions battle to find an ideal means to balance the academic playing field moving forward.
2020 has undoubtedly been a challenging time, but one arguable benefit could be the forcing of societal flaws conversations to the forefront, such as the imbalance of equality across all levels of the education sector. Unfortunately, remote learning opportunities and assistance for students during the pandemic period varied depending on student location, racial demographics, family income level, and special needs. So, what does educational equality look like? It looks like ensuring every student, regardless of their background or status, is provided with the tools and support they need to prosper.
For many years this issue remained quietly discussed and rarely brought to the limelight as there was no pandemic, no national lockdown, and no remote learning requirements, allowing school buildings and campuses to function as the great equaliser. Once inside the physical parameters of a school, all students instantly had the same reach to relevant equipment, support, and the opportunity to learn. Yet, what we've learned from COVID-19 and is no longer deniable, is student academic growth is determined in large part by their access to such facilities outside those school walls.
As with any systematic issue, the path to salvation is by addressing the issue directly, thoroughly investigating inequities, and investing in solutions that to balance the academic playing field for all students.
Centerprise International’s work in the educational sector is substantial and well documented on our website, where accounts of successful solutions we have provided to academic institutions reside. Owning spots on several educational frameworks, such as CPC and the Department of Education, we utilise our considerable vendor portfolio to suit schools’ specific needs with tailor-made solutions delivered with market-leading customer satisfaction.
Contact us now to find out how we level the academic playing field, the Centerprise way!