The IET and DAFA are bringing together organisations to kick start an alliance aimed at tackling the issue of digital poverty and ending digital poverty for all, particularly for disadvantaged children.
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the growing problem of digital poverty in the UK. With 1.9 million households with no access to the internet*, COVID-19 has identified key gaps in the ability of people working from home, as well as the ability of many children learning from home.
It’s important to recognise the social gap in access to technology, but the challenge of tackling digital poverty is too large for one organisation to take on alone, which is why the IET and DAFA are working to establish an alliance with organisations, who work together, can tackle this challenge.
IET Head of Education, David Lakin, said: “Digital poverty is nothing new, it’s been around for a long time and it’s an important issue society needs to address. If we want to end digital poverty, it’s important that we take action now and work together. I strongly believe, by forming an alliance, we have a real opportunity of reaching that ambitious goal of ending digital poverty for disadvantaged children.
“The IET has a long history of creating networks so that the engineering and technology community can come together to solve society’s greatest challenges. It would be fantastic if we can start the journey of eradicating digital poverty during our 150th anniversary year.”
CEO of the Learning Foundation and lead on DAFA, Paul Finnis, said: “The Learning Foundation, launched Digital Access for All in February 2019 and has been working hard to understand what’s needed and by who in eliminating the digital divide. We are delighted to move into this decisive stage in partnership with the IET who share our commitment to ensuring that every individual, family and schoolchild has the access they need at home to the digital world to support and enhance their learning and their lives.”
The first Digital Poverty Alliance (DPA) virtual roundtable took place on Friday 23 October with more than 20 organisations in attendance, including Intel, TechUK, TeachFirst, BBC News, DCMS and the Department for Education. The roundtable will be followed by several workshops to form an action plan with the goal to end digital poverty for all.