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“Digital education divide” concerns raised by Deputy

“Digital education divide” concerns raised by Deputy

Wednesday 17 March 2021

“Digital education divide” concerns raised by Deputy

Deputy Gavin St Pier has asked Education what lessons it has learned from lockdown, as he called on the committee to investigate the impact of distance learning on students.

Deputy St Pier has lodged a series of formal written questions to the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, focusing on post-lockdown education recovery.

“I think there are two broad, obvious questions in relation to the post-lockdown recovery period for education,” said Deputy St Pier.

“One is to identify those that have had the most difficult period educationally during lockdown. Have we got a plan in place to identify gaps and fill them for that group of people?”


Pictured: Deputy St Pier has previously posed questions, including in the States' Chamber, about the distance learning on offer to pupils of States-run schools.

“I had a dialogue with Education about this question of the ‘digital divide’ and the answers I got seemed to suggest that it was less of a barrier than it might be elsewhere.

“There had been a lot of effort put in to identifying those who were unable to access remotely, whether it was lack of hardware needing to be provided or whether it was the lack of access to the internet.”

Secondly, Deputy St Pier wants to clarify whether or not efforts will be made to actively take lessons from the last year.

“One would hope that lessons have been learned between the first and second lockdown,” he said.

“Equally, one would hope that lessons have been learned during this second lockdown. Obviously, we all hope there won’t be a third lockdown, but I think it would be remiss that lessons were not captured, because there might be a whole host of reasons why it becomes necessary at some point in the future to deliver distance learning again.” 

He believes particular attention should be paid to comparing against the educational offer made by the grant-aided colleges and how they fared during the pandemic.

“An important part of this process is a bit of work around comparing and contrasting, particularly at the secondary level, what’s happening at the grant aided colleges, and if there’s anything there that worked better in one sector than the other and vice versa,” he said.

The questions will be raised in the States of Deliberation. 

“I don’t ask these questions because I know the answers, I think it’s an area of interest to the wider community and particularly to students and their families.”

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