Digital divide: Oak National Academy 'zero-rated'

The Oak National Academy has had its content “zero-rated” by 11 major telecoms providers, meaning parents will not incur punitive costs for accessing online lessons.

The digital divide has proved a major obstacle for many disadvantaged pupils trying to access remote education during the pandemic, with mobile data charges a significant part of this problem.

According to figures from Ofcom, 559,000 children have no internet access at all, 1.8 million children are thought not to have access to a laptop or computer at home, while around 913,000 children are accessing online learning from a parent’s mobile phone, incurring punitive data costs.

While the government continues to play catch-up in providing free laptops to disadvantaged children, much quicker progress has been made on getting rid of data charges.

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