July 28, 2020
COVID catches students in digital divide
A report for an Auckland iwi has highlighted how young Māori students found themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The report by Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei and the University of Auckland’s Koi Tū: Centre for Informed Futures surveyed 668 rangatahi aged between 12 – 17 years, a third of them studying at NCEA level.
It found fewer than half had a computer for at-home learning.
Lack of access to suitable digital devices negatively impacting the mental health and resilience of student, and the senior students were worried about their future prospects.
To address the issue, the iwi distributed more than 400 Chromebooks to whānau. That support allowed student Rereahu Turia, the independence and ability to complete her schoolwork.
Co-author Professor Stuart McNaughton says the report highlights how it is important to understand community, whānau and tamariki resilience and adaptability, as well as the stresses and impact of an event such as COVID-19 has on well-being.
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