According to the government, a ‘digitally excluded’ learner is a student with no access to an appropriate internet-connected device to take part in online learning activities from his or her home during the prevailing lockdown situation.
To support such students, local authorities across Wales will be closely working with schools. The authorities will use the funding to offer such learners with repurposed school devices and 4G MiFi connectivity wherever necessary.
Through the wider Hwb infrastructure programme, replacement devices will also be funded for schools, said the Welsh government.
By contacting parents and carers, schools will be listing out the digitally excluded learners, while local authorities will be engaged in identifying devices that can be repurposed with the latest software.
Wales Education Minister Kirsty Williams said: “The coronavirus crisis has made learning from home necessary for most children at the moment. Modern technology allows us to learn remotely, with a wide range of brilliant learning tools available online. However, I recognises that it poses challenges for many families.
“It is my priority that no child or family is left behind during this crisis and all children have the opportunity to continue learning. By repurposing school kit, we will ensure that children and families get the support they need as quickly as possible.”
The Welsh Education Minister further added that the funding will make sure that a lack of access to a laptop or broadband will no longer put the digitally excluded learners away from the online classes. The move from the government is also expected to play an important role in helping families in making sure that their children can continue with their education, irrespective of the place of learning, said the Minister.