DAFA taskforce launched to tackle ‘digital exclusion’
The Digital Access for All taskforce has been launched in response to research revealing that 700,000 UK school pupils have problems completing homework due to lack of internet access
Digital Access for All (DAFA) launched on 25 February as research revealed that 12% of 11–15-year-olds do not have sufficient internet access to complete homework.
The DAFA taskforce has been developed by edtech consultancy Learning Foundation and Nominet, the official registry for UK domain names, in response to Lloyds Bank research detailing the lack of home internet access for 12% of 11–15-year-olds.
The research also found that 76% of 11–15-year-olds said they would find it difficult to complete homework without the internet, and that they use the internet to help them achieve career ambitions.
We understand that if we are to achieve the full benefits of digital inclusion our taskforce must also consider parental advice, teacher training and the wider issues of health and safety in the digital environment.
– Lord Jim Knight
Lack of access to education and jobs is a risk of digital exclusion, and DAFA aims to ensure that all children and young people in the UK have equal access to digital and the benefits it provides.
Paul Finnis, CEO, Learning Foundation, said: “Digital Access for All is a determined effort to unlock solutions to the challenge of digital exclusion so that every young person, and their family, can have adequate access in the home so they can build the skills, confidence and enjoy opportunities for their future in a digital society.”
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Over the next six months DAFA will be working with service design partners to shape a series of pilots that will test different approaches to delivering the initiative effectively across the UK.
The Carnegie UK Trust has also published a report to support the initiative, entitled Switched On. The report collates research and evidence about key issues relation to digital inclusion, with a focus on children and young people.
Switched On findings include:
- Digital access challenges are compounded when you concentrate on young people experiencing vulnerabilities or focus on particular geographies, specifically rural locations and urban areas of high deprivation.
- The digital policy landscape is varied with a range of national and local policies covering different aspects of digital and young people.
- There is a need to shift the debate to talk about the full range of issues impacting on digital inclusion for children and young people, encompassing access to technology, an affordable reliable connection, and also the ability to utilise the online world effectively and safely. Adequate access goes far beyond simply owning a digital device.
Founding partners of DAFA include Intel, Lloyds Bank, Microsoft, Argos, BT, Carnegie UK Trust, Computer Recyclers, Good Things Foundation and Greater London Authority, and the initiative also receives support from Baroness Harding of Winscombe and Lord Jim Knight.
It is crucial to our nation’s future success that all children and young people should have equal access to digital, and all the benefits it provides.
– Baroness Harding
Baroness Harding said: “The use of technology and its impact on society continues to increase exponentially. It is now an essential part of life and learning for families and especially for children. It is crucial to our nation’s future success that all children and young people should have equal access to digital, and all the benefits it provides.”
Lord Knight added: “We understand that if we are to achieve the full benefits of digital inclusion our taskforce must also consider parental advice, teacher training and the wider issues of health and safety in the digital environment. The potential of not only each individual, but our digital economy and future hiring pool depends on it.”