Digital Exclusion (Glasgow Schools)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 24 March 2021.

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Photo of Johann Lamont Johann Lamont Labour

It was revealed at a recent meeting of Glasgow City Council’s education committee that more than one third of primary 1 to 6 pupils in Glasgow were identified as needing a digital device for home learning and still do not have access to one. Digital exclusion among disadvantaged children and young people was already a significant problem before lockdown and remote learning, and the pandemic has compounded that. I am sure that the cabinet secretary will agree that it is entirely unacceptable that, one year after lockdown, children still do not have access to the devices that they need in order to learn. The devices are not a bonus; they are central to their learning.

What further action can the Government take to address digital exclusion and ensure that young people, including the 35 per cent of Glasgow primary school children who have been identified, do not fall through the net? How will the Scottish Government focus attention more broadly on that most vulnerable group of young people, whose life chances have clearly been disproportionately affected by the Covid crisis?