Access to online information is causing a digital divide in education

Access to digital information

It’s $5 Friday and today we have a really important update from our community. 

As homeschooling continues throughout Fiji, it has become clear that access to online information is creating a digital divide in education

Just $320 per month can change that for 16 Girls. 

That’s $20 per month of phone data per family which will allow them to access online zoom classes. 

Let me explain.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the schools we work with were providing worksheets which needed to be completed at home each week and returned to school for review.

However, over time, the teachers noticed that the students were becoming disengaged. They weren’t completing their work sheets properly, and many families were finding it difficult to pick up their packs – they live remotely and the cost of travel became prohibitive once public transport stopped operating. 

So a call went out to parents asking if they had access to a mobile phone or laptop.

Most families said yes, and the teachers decided to run online classes via zoom. 

This has been working well for many students, they are logging on each day and spending time connecting with their teachers and peers. Riya (pictured above) has had around 3-4 hours of zoom per day and has found herself in a good routine.  

Many of the Girls started to engage with their classwork again because they were connected to their peers, they became more motivated and their teachers and families noticed a huge improvement in the work being completed. 

The problem is – accessing zoom requires a lot of data, especially in remote areas. 

While many of the families we work with do have access to a mobile phone, they don’t have access to unlimited data plans, so the Girls have been unable to participate in the online sessions. 

So today we are raising funds for internet data so these Girls can continue to have access to education. 

For the Girls that don’t have a mobile phone, our Program Coordinator is working with local schools and parents to identify ‘Education Champions’ and looking into local community led solutions to ensure Girls in remote areas have the support they need. 

$20 can make a huge difference to Girls’ education. 

It looks likely that remote learning will continue for the rest of the school year and if that’s the case we’ll need just over $1200 to ensure the Girls have access to online education along with their peers. 

Do you have $5 (or more!) to help make a difference today?

You might also like to read this recent story in the Fiji Times about ‘Teachers going beyond the limit‘ which highlights the dedication of teachers who are going above and beyond for their students (as we’ve seen in Fiji and all around the world throughout the pandemic). 

As always, thank you for your ongoing support.

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