ASPnet Newsletter - CONNECT (Issue 10)
25. julij 2020
Dear National Coordinators,
Dear Teachers and Students,
During this unprecedented experience of lockdown due to COVID-19, digital connectivity has provided many of us with a crucial portal to access critical information, to maintain social communication, to work, and to continue our education. As a result of school closures to slow the spread of COVID-19, most of our members were struggling to assure education remotely and maintain the continuity of learning by using different technologies. Overnight, connectivity has transformed from “nice-to-have” to “need-to have”.
Yet, despite the enlarged importance of digital connectivity during the pandemic, close to half of the world’s population (46%), or some three billion people, do not have access to the internet. Many people remain unconnected to online technologies and even to low technologies such as television or radio.
To bridge this digital divide, UNESCO launched the Covid-19 Global Education Coalition, which brings together an array of partners to develop equitable and inclusive solutions to support distance learning. Coalition partners work together to find ways to ensure that children everywhere can continue their education, with special attention to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. One way to do this is to provide free distance learning solutions, connectivity, content and training challenges, while ensuring a mix of technologies to include low-tech solutions such as television and radio. However, there are serious risks for disengagement and dropping out of school due to these widening inequalities, potentially swelling the ranks of the 258 million children and youth currently out of school, excluded from education.
It is for this reason that we have dedicated this issue to highlighting the issue of the digital divide, and looking for ways to mitigate growing inequalities. It is my great pleasure to receive a message from the ICT Unit of UNESCO’s Education sector. We would like to take you through some key findings on the digital divide and showcase good practices as well as the challenges yet to be resolved.
Stay safe. Stay CONNECTed!