Poor Folk Get Connected As COVID turns Homework Into Schoolwork

library interior with computers for public use
Toronto Reference Library photo by Lord of the Wings is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Some libraries provide internet access, workspace and computers for use by the general public.

For several years now, it’s been clear in America and other countries that internet access is growing in importance for providing individuals, old as well as young, to equal opportunity education.

But not everyone has the money to pay for home internet connections that are fast enough to keep up with these online teaching opportunities.

Do education departments or any other branch of governments recognize a responsibility to support internet access for less fortunate families and individuals? The answer, by and large, has been “no.”

Governments and boards of education can label homework a parental responsibility, which allows them to look the other way. Unequal opportunity disadvantages access by the poor to the internet.1

Whether children trying to keep up with research to complete classwork, or seniors searching for health education, pretty much the sole solution has been to book time on limited numbers of publicly available terminals in libraries or other resource centres.

But the pandemic is providing an unexpected silver lining for families and individuals with low and no income. It has forced educational institutions to look seriously at providing, not just homework assignments, but also teaching, by way of the internet.

The following article bills broadband access as a ‘crisis.’ It may well be, for school systems struggling for funding in these strange pandemic times. But for those have been falling further and further behind their peers through their limited access to the internet, it may be more appropriate to call it an opportunity for real educational equality. Read more at AXIOS: Schools confront broadband access crisis

Footnotes

  1. See this article at CNN: Low internet access is driving inequality