With schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, millions of children in Britain are struggling to learn remotely, because of a lack of computers, internet or quiet room to study.
“At home, I have to share the computer with my big brother and sister,” said eight-year-old Kamaljit Sultana, who lives in Tower Hamlets in east London, one of the city’s poorest boroughs.
Without her class teacher to help her, “it’s more difficult, I’m a bit lost!” she added.
More than 93,000 people have died in Britain in the outbreak, and the country has been in a new lockdown since early this month, as a new variant of the virus has caused a worrying surge in cases.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is hoping to reopen schools by Easter in April, leaving families several more months to struggle with homeschooling.
James Turner, chief executive of educational charity the Sutton Trust, said the poorest children suffer the most.
Some “either don’t have any devices in their home or they’re trying to learn online using a mobile phone”, he told AFP.
And where a phone is available, it is sometimes shared between two or three siblings.
Kate Anstey, of Child Poverty Action Group, says some parents were getting up early and writing out worksheets by hand because they do not have a printer.
Her group found 40 percent of low-income families were missing at least one essential resource, such as a laptop, a device or internet.