Digital inequality widens educational gap in low-income households
By Silke Wahl - Development Consultant
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Guatemala, students from low-income households have been struggling a lot with education. With private and public schools closed since March 2020 and students studying online from home, the digital divide between disadvantaged kids and those from middle-class families has become even more evident. In a country like Guatemala where the inequality in educational distribution has been always high, the disparities in learning and achievements grow and so the poverty cycle continues.
The majority of CasaSito’s students don’t have an internet connection, tablet or laptop in their homes and rely on expensive data cellphone data packages while expenses for food and electricity are already extremely challenging. Sometimes parents and three or four children have to share a mobile phone and the space to study from home. Those without online connections miss out on learning and the sense of being part of a group not being able to stay in touch with their peers and teachers.
CasaSito's parents, teachers and students describe facing difficult choices around working and learning from home because of scarce resources, increased living expenses and inadequate space for families of five or more studying from home. This permanent conflict since more than a year, caused anxiety, stress and depression among our families.
Therefore, CasaSito is offering psychological support to those needed and invited its scholars to an online workshop that focused on digital resources and the correct use of digital tools and technology. Data packages are provided to all scholars on a monthly basis, in order to make sure they have internet access during their online classes at school and the enrichment classes offered by CasaSito.
In addition, headphones will be purchased for our students that will help them to reduce problems of noise and distractions while studying at home and help them to better concentrate during online classes, and a library will be set up in CasaSito's office with laptops that can be used or borrowed by our scholars for studying and research.
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