Monday, October 19, 2020

Digital Inequality: Is another EdTech strategy already overdue?

What lessons has Gavin Williamson learned since classrooms closed on 20 March? He has likely learned one thing that will linger; it's unpleasant to be held personally responsible for a bad set of exam results. In a system which usually judges its staff on end-of-year assessments, it's novel for a politician to be the focus of the blame game.

But there is something else Mr Williamson should have learned in the last five months – it's time to bridge digital inequality. And soon. The lockdown has brought the disparity into sharp relief: it's now clear from numerous reports and surveys that teachers and schools were ill-prepared for a shift to digital education, and it's the least-advantaged young people that have missed out most.

The reports have also highlighted that a new way forward is needed, not just to cope with local lockdowns, but to gear our public education system up for the future that has arrived.