Why we must end the Digital Divide
Most Camden pupils were at home during lockdown and many - over half in some primary schools and a quarter in some secondaries – had no access to a computer or Wi-Fi, excluding them from online learning and putting them at risk of falling behind their classmates.
Last term, more than 3,000 Camden pupils were without access to a computer and, unless we can buy them digital kit to learn at home, many of these children will again be denied the online learning they desperately need if they are sent home due to coronavirus cases in their school or there is a local lockdown.
Our schools have been lending their pupils computers, as well as doing their own fundraising to buy digital kit, while Camden Learning and Camden Council have successfully appealed for some donated devices, bought some emergency kit for a limited number of children who might be sent home as well as distributing computers bought by the Government for selected year groups.
However, none of this has been anywhere near enough to end the inequality of access to online learning in our borough, which has become so painfully apparent during this COVID-19 crisis.
This means that thousands of Camden pupils, including some of our most disadvantaged children, still have no access or only limited access to a computer and WiFi at home.
We think this is unacceptable so it is our ambition that no pupil or student in Camden schools should be without the equipment (computer and Wi-Fi connection) they need to access home learning online, which has become so important during the pandemic.
Given the increasing reliance on online learning, Camden Learning is concerned that the Digital Divide could widen the attainment gap for disadvantaged young people in Camden. That’s why Camden Learning and local schools are determined to do everything they can to get as many computers as possible for the pupils who need them – not only during the pandemic but also to enhance their access to online learning at home throughout their education in Camden.
As one of our local students Asma says: “Digital access becomes a right when it is the only way you can access education. Because education is a fundamental right of all children, we shouldn’t see digital access as a novelty and a luxury. If we have a second rise in cases, it is the only way that young people will be able to learn.”
You can make a difference
Please support our crowdfunding campaign – donate now and help us buy computers for local schoolchildren who need them.
Every donation counts - All contributions, small or large, will make a big difference. Everything adds up, and every £227 we raise is enough to buy a computer for a Camden pupil who needs it.
Buy digital devices - If you make a £227 donation, which is enough to buy a computer for a Camden pupil who needs it, you'll receive a Personalised Thank You on behalf of Camden's schools. This will state the number of computers that you've purchased and can be shared on social media, or printed off to display in offices or business premises.
All money raised will be spent on purchasing computers and Wi-Fi for pupils at Camden schools who need them, and providing technical support for all computers purchased. We will prioritise purchasing computers for pupils most in need this academic year, with any surplus used to purchase computers for pupils who need them in subsequent academic years.
About Camden Learning
Camden Learning is a local partnership created for the benefit of children and schools in the London Borough of Camden. We are a joint enterprise between all Camden schools and Camden Council. We bring teachers, headteachers and other education practitioners together to share expertise, drive improvement and achieve the best outcomes for all children and young people in Camden.