Asda has today announced that it will be issuing 7,000 laptops to partner schools throughout the United Kingdom in an attempt to bridge the digital divide that has emerged during the global pandemic.
According to Ofcom, 9% of students in the UK, which is between 1.1 million and 1.8 million, do not have access to a suitable electronic device at home. These students are primarily from disadvantaged backgrounds and risk falling further behind.
This is the UK’s structural inequality writ large.
I welcome the moves by Asda to step in and help to bridge this gap. Bolton South East is home to three Asda stores – Farnworth, Burnden and Daubhill – all which employ hundreds of people and provides the amenities we all require.
Each of these stores will nominate a local primary or secondary school with a large proportion of families struggling to support home learning – something I spoke about here. The nominations will then be reviewed by the Better Communities team against the UK Government benchmarking data to ensure those who need it most get the equipment.
Asda aims to get the first shipment of laptops out by next month and its in-house IT department will be on hand to provide schools with any support they need.