With Saskatchewan schoolchildren needing access to Wi-Fi and a phone, laptop, or tablet to participate in online learning activities with their classmates, some kids are being left behind. The Saskatchewan NDP is calling on the province to work with stakeholders to close the digital divide for Saskatchewan schoolkids.
“Teachers, school divisions and parents have stepped up in so many ways for our kids in these difficult times,” said NDP Education Critic Carla Beck, “but we know there’s a sharp digital divide in our communities that is leaving some kids isolated from their peers and falling behind.
“We are urging the province to work with school divisions and teachers to ensure that every school has a technology equity plan and resources available to close the digital divide for Saskatchewan kids.”
Beck was joined by Shannon Chappell, a single mom of three school-age kids in Saskatoon. Shannon lost her job and began receiving Social Services benefits while she upgrades her skills and looks to change careers. The only device she has at home capable of accessing the internet is one mobile phone.
One of Chappell’s children attends a special program and has special needs. His classroom was his outlet for socialization, and he is desperately missing his classmates. Another is in Grade 8, does well academically, and is very concerned about falling behind before she enters high school.
“My kids miss their classmates, they miss their teachers, and they’re frustrated that they can’t participate fully in their school activities,” said Chappell. “We shouldn’t be letting Saskatchewan kids slip through the cracks like this.”
“The solutions are here in our communities, but the government should be taking the lead and committing the necessary resources to close this gap,” said Beck. “Why haven’t they already moved to make this happen?”