Northumberland Labour Group says now more than ever digital divide in the county is widening. Struggling students and families are unable to get the same at home education.
Labour Group leader Susan Dungworth said: “With schools once again closing it is essential that children can continue with their education from home. We recognise the critical importance of reducing the spread of the new variant of Covid-19, but while children are forced to learn remotely it is vital the government supports schools to deliver excellent online education which is accessible to all.”
There are still up to 1.22 million children across the UK without access to the devices needed to learn online during this lockdown, robbing them of educational opportunities. Further, seven per cent of households have internet access only through a mobile device so much more must be done to ensure that children can access online learning without data charges.
Susan added: “The Government has had nine months since the start of the pandemic to tackle the digital divide in children’s learning, yet thousands of pupils are still unable to access online education. The closure of schools has a disproportionately negative impact on those who are already disadvantaged and lack the resources for effective online study.
“Labour has continually warned about the dangers of the digital divide which risks leaving so many children and young people behind. The government has yet again failed to deliver on digital provision for those who need it most.
“The pandemic has shone a spotlight on this issue, but the digital divide will still be here, restricting the opportunities for many children and young people, long after Covid-19 has gone.
“It’s ironic that Labour was criticised when suggesting that broadband for all was essential in the 21st century. However, now we all know it is. We’re urging ministers to urgently adopt Labour’s proposals on broadband and laptop and tablet provision; to do otherwise risks failing a generation.”