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  • Writer's pictureJessica Proctor

The Covid Education Gap

During the peak of coronavirus, children across the globe were forced into home learning through apps such as Zoom and Skype to connect with teachers and classmates. From this, we have seen there was a clear difference in the number of students with access to devices. Some students hosted three to themselves, such as laptops and iPads, while the more unfortunate may have had to share between a household of six, clearly compromising the needs of siblings. The UK government initiated a movement to send out computers to families that ‘qualified’ for free school meals, but it is clear this wasn’t enough. What about those children who didn’t quite hit the threshold to be ‘poor’ by the difference of £1 annual income? What about those who lived in noisy and abusive households and were unable to complete work without headphones? What has corona cost our future economy?

A 3rd of children aged 5-16 did not have access to their own device, according to research by the Sutton trust. It was also more shockingly discovered that students currently in secondary school will miss out on £11billion in earnings over their working lives collectively, due to this disadvantage. Long term impact on lost earnings is three times greater in those of deprived backgrounds. There are so many possible implications from this – will the class gap widen with an increase in poverty? Will there be great inflation in house prices increasing homelessness? The chances of us becoming a capitalist society once again are increasing.

However, this is not just a problem in the Uk. In the United States, 35% of low-income households with children don’t have high-speed internet, and in New York, 300,000 students have no computer. This increases significantly within African American and Hispanic families. The predictions for how this will affect the economy are not yet released, however, the data points to it being a huge amount. On a global scale, poverty is set to increase to a great extent as prices rise and incomes fall. Due to the damage corona has already done to our economies, sparking recessions, and creating an influx of strain on our healthcare systems, it is not likely to get better for the next generations. One thing that is for sure, we cannot afford for children to start home learning again at any point.

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