The UK government has announced plans to revive the Home Access Scheme, which will see a nation wide rollout of free laptops and broadband internet connections to pupils from poorer backgrounds, with the intention of ‘bridging the gap between rich and poor pupils.’
The scheme, which was first announced by Prime Minister Gordon Brown in October 2008, will provide free laptops and internet connection to around 270,000 poor families in Britain and has already been initiated in two local areas.
The scheme will allow the students to keep the laptops but the internet connection will be funded for just one year.
(ed : incidentally and by pure coincidence, Talktalk is giving away 12 months free broadband when users take on a 24-month contract. Users will get free broadband, unlimited evening and weekend calls as well as a wireless router).
Earlier, this very scheme was a component of the Home Computing Initiative, in which companies were asked to lease out free computers to their employees in return to tax breaks. However, after garnering the support of around 60 firms, the scheme died down in just 7 years.
According to BBC News, a recent report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies had claimed that students with a laptop at home saw an increase of 2 grade points in one subject at GCSE level.
Commenting on the development, Children’s Secretary Ed Ball mentioned “Families who are most in need cannot be left behind in the digital revolution we're seeing in education". Using technology to lift poorer people out of poverty, how noble! The total cost of the scheme is expected to reach £300 million.