1,200 children do not have access to a computer or a tablet - but funding to purchase more devices still hasn’t been identified by the Government.
The figure was released following a written question to the acting Minister for Education, Deputy Jeremy Maçon.
Deputy Mike Higgins asked how many children didn’t have access to a computer or iPad, and what steps were the acting Minister, and the Government, taking to “overcome any educational disadvantage these children are experiencing with regards to home learning, especially during the pandemic."
Deputy Maçon replied that, according to a survey carried out In January, 1,200 devices were needed. He added that schools had done “a tremendous amount” to reduce the initial figures from March 2020, either by using their budgets or petitioning local organisations for financial support.
Pictured: Schools have been working to reduce the number of devices needed by petitioning for funding, among other things.
Every Child Our Future is one such organisation.
In addition, the acting Minister said schools have come up with other solutions to mitigate “the challenges of supporting their children who do not have access or full access to a device."
“They have provided ‘hard’ copies of work that has been set on a weekly basis,” Deputy Maçon said. “They have also encouraged the use of phones by photographing written responses to work that is set and then responding to the photographic images.
"Naturally, this is not ideal, but it shows how schools have tried to address the matter.”
Pictured: Deputy Jeremy Macon is the acting Education Minister.
Meanwhile, the St. Saviour representative assured that the Director General of Children, Young People, Education and Skills (CYPES), Mark Rogers, was working with the Government's Modernisation and Digital team and others to source funding to purchase additional devices.
However, he added that there was no urgency in the matter as the “vast majority” of children are currently attending school, while experience from last year’s lockdown showed that “for most of these children, moving to a full closure or part closure would be managed effectively by schools”.
“The teachers have been trained in online learning and they are experienced in preparing hard copies for those children who do not have access to devices,” he said.
Senator Tracey Vallois, the former Education Minister, revealed to Express last month that she had previously applied for funding to give children devices for virtual learning during the pandemic.
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