The Rich are Getting Smarter, and The Poor?
The Corona epidemic has caused all the world's students to move from the traditional classrooms to the classroom of the future - The Zoom classroom. Was this inevitable anyway? Students have been increasingly using online studying technologies. There are websites like “Gool”, where students even pay to receive recorded lessons and online content from which they can study at their convenience.
This move to online education has not worked out as well for elementary school students who are not used to study from home through the computer. When the Israel Ministry of Education ordered distance teaching they may have forgotten some obstacles on the way to achieving the goal of continuing the educational framework as usual. In Israel, 180,000 families do not have access to the internet or a computer, they cannot receive assignments or attend classes like their peers. These kids seemed have been forgotten when deciding the online education solution.
Even for those families with computers and internet are hindered by the reality that three or four kids each with a lesson at 10:00 AM are vying for the limited one or two computers at home. This doesn’t even account for the many parents who now have to work from home too and besides quiet also need the computer.
With the possibility of schools not fully reopening, or with the disease returning, it is clear that the situation for both low-income families, and middle-class families will continue to be complicated and unfairly disadvantaged by the situation.
The Ministry of Education, together with the schools, will have to think of a just and fairer outline.
Easy solutions include staggering classes or holding classes via teleconference rather than online. A longer-term solution could be the distribution of preloaded inexpensive tablets with all the necessary and relevant learning, studying and organizational software. This solution might work best considering that a large percentage of those without computer access do so by choice for cultural, religious or educational reasons. A stand-alone device with minimal access to the undesired internet might prove to be the best option.