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COVID-19 | Digital Divide Student Impact


P.PORTO seeks to assess the impact of technological inequality on students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The recent pandemic caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 forced Higher Education Institutions to adopt digital teaching and learning methods, on a more permanent basis. This exceptional context urges us to reflect on the adopted methodologies. We are starting to question whether education will be the same again and how technologies and digital media will become an integral and essential part of our everyday life.

During the first lockdown, according to data from the UNESCO , 290 million students were left without classes due to issues related to the Coronavirus. The University of Washington sent a message to its 50,000 students stating that classes and exams would take place remotely. In the United Arab Emirates, an eLearning experience started. Under the motto “no classes, but do not stop studying”, the Chinese education minister encouraged the use of online for all levels of education and Chinese universities continue their activities remotely for an indefinite period.

Now, a study, from the Polytechnic of Porto, in partnership with the University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) looks to investigate the impact that digital inequality had, during the lockdown periods of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the students’ transition to the online environment.

Rosalina Babo, professor and coordinator of the IT department at the Instituto Superior de Contabilidade e Administração do Porto | ISCAP is the project coordinator in Portugal and asserts the importance of this project in determining the reasons for the inequalities and their impact on learning.

Do students have access to the internet and a computer system? Does geographic location interfere with the speed of the internet? Has the necessary investment been made to provide schools with adequate and safe platforms?

In higher education, it is already customary to use distance learning platforms to complement the normal classes. But are teachers and students prepared for teaching activities exclusively remotely?

There are many questions that will strongly determine the success of this school year. That is why we urge our students to complete this brief questionnaire.

The completion of this questionnaire will take approximately 15 minutes. Your participation is completely voluntary and your identity is confidential