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Educational Inequalities

With Print Supplies Disrupted, Online Learning Widens Educational Inequalities

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Education must not be only for those who can afford the technology

The dramatic shift of the school curriculum as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way students learn as they are becoming more diverse and internationalized. However, this is not the case with students from the poorest families living without Internet access. And because education matters with respect to later jobs, income, and health, setbacks now will last a lifetime.

Online learning risks equalities

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the tradition of the physical institutions to learn. Now, many educational institutions are on laptops and smart screens, and the internet has replaced physical books. It’s been an extraordinarily fast—transition, affecting every age group of students. Online courses in schools and universities are becoming more central to their teaching—peeling old open online courses (MOOCs) offerings.

The impact of this educational revolution represents significant risks. On average in a week, a staggering 850 million students enrolled in schools, colleges and universities worldwide are not in education or training because of COVID-19, according to the UN science and education organization UNESCO.

Digital books at desks

As a number of students going back to school online, educators are urgently turning to digital books in place of print for their established curriculum. Schools have shifted to digital reading platforms such as OverDrive Education, providing instant access to assigned titles as ebooks, audiobooks, and streaming videos to more than 35,000 K-12 schools worldwide. The company has significantly expanded its catalog to include grad-leveled class sets aligned to teaching units.

Students can benefit from a growing catalog of over one million premium digital titles, any time, anywhere with the Sora reading app. When demand is high for certain titles, Sora is responsive to student interest in a matter of hours. Sora’s new feature “On-Demand Class Set” allows schools to purchase the right number of books for students in an assigned module or unit.

OverDrive secures digital editions for titles that were previous;y only available in print and well as to provide efficient price models.

“Schools need to maximize budgets, so we work closely with publishers to participate in cost-effective class set pricing. This model is ideal for individual classes, grades, buildings, or an entire district”, said Angela Arnold, General Manager of OverDrive Education.

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The Educational landscape is changing dynamically. The new generation of students thus faces the daunting task to choose an institution that would guide them towards a lucrative career.

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