Blog Action Day is today and I am going to write about…

…poverty in my own country, the UK.

What do you mean? Surely a prosperous country like the UK has no poverty? Well the statistics do not back it up with a fifth of all children living in poverty. They are the same kids whose parents have no options on which school to send their children let alone much aspiration of further education or university. And, to stick on-topic, these kids and their families are also the ones being bypassed by the digital revolution. For the great unspoken about digital is that it is creating a two nation country – those who can afford it and those who can’t.

Just take the kit. Broadband is around £25-£35 a month. A decent laptop comes in at £500. Such items sound pretty reasonable but people on the minimum wage, on benefits, even on one of the many low-paid jobs just cannot find this money. The apartheid extends to the workplace. However slow or awkward work computers can seem with their firewalls and restrictions, try being a travel agent or work in a call centre. Their employees do not allow access to the internet at work, only an intranet. So the people who would most benefit from exposure to the web at work are the least likely to enjoy it.

Why should the country take note? It is simple really. The web is at its best when it is collaborative, open and linked in – as I have repeated many times in this blog. How can it claim to be in this country if a quarter of the country is excluded? Among those may well be the Bill Gates or Kevin Roses of the future. So, let us remind Prime Minister Gordon Brown of his promise (before the recent financial meltdown) of his promise of £1billion to give a computer to every child. For without them, we are all poorer.

And now my colleagues

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5 Responses to Blog Action Day is today and I am going to write about…

  1. Pingback: Blog Action Day, and the Family Holiday Association « Journeys through travel

  2. Laura says:

    Thanks for your post. At The Open University we have created a website, OpenLearn, to give free access to our learning materials and tools to help independent learners access education. There is much work to be done in narrowing the digital divide, both in terms of skills and access, but we see open educational resources as one important step forward.

  3. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Blog action day: the road to academia

  4. Pamela Poole says:

    Hi John. Thanks for your comment on Web Worker Daily and for spreading the word about Blog Action Day!

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