In a day and age where people care more about mobile phone signal that knowing what their neighbours names are, I find the article published in the BBC News Education section yesterday very daunting. Judith Burns wrote the article using statistics from the (ONS) Office of National Statistics, and within it, her point is frightening, they claim that “A third of poorest pupils ‘without internet at home’.” This figure got me thinking…This is around as the article states, 750,000 children who do not have access to the internet at home which is a substantial amount. From being in school and recalling the days when I was in primary education, I can recall how important a computer and internet was then from 1995-2002. Now with more and more schools improving their online presence and using sites such as Moodle to get children to work at home, the internet is a must.
This therefore got me thinking…sometimes when this occurs I get crazy ideas which are only pipe dreams, but they’re always a positive idea to improve. Not to drop product names especially as I do not work on commission, I have an iPhone 4. Now I can get internet almost anywhere, if you ask me a question and I do not have the answer, whether we are on a bus, out for a stroll in the middle of the countryside or even in the middle of the English channel, I can find the answer. Now if my network provider can provide me (slow) but a regular internet connection, why is it so difficult to provide internet to these children.
Now there are a number of ways the government could provide the internet to these children, they could outright pay for their contracts to the countries poorest, but where is the fairness and cost effectiveness in that. My idea could see every child have access to a computer and internet which would benefit their education incredibly. Child tax credits are paid to families who have children under the age of 18, an age which would see them leave sixth form/college to maybe go to University or get a job in which they can then buy internet. The child tax credit is paid to help provide a better life for children and it helps families with shopping, bills and other necessities in raising a child. In this day however is internet not a necessity? The government could ensure that each child has access to the internet by giving a £400 bonus to those families who can not buy a computer, but instead of it being in money which can sometimes get misspent, send out a delivery of computers to these families and then cut down their child tax credits but £25 a month which will then pay for the internet without the families having to sort any bills or connection.
It does sound like a very long winded process and very expensive, but by taking the internet charge out of tax credits which is to help the children, the government would be providing the internet to the children which is of a huge benefit to their education.