Jakarta: A staggering two-thirds of world’s school-aged children – 1.3 billion children aged 3-17 – do not have internet connection in their homes, a new United Nations (UN) report has revealed.
The Unicef-ITU report How Many Children and Youth Have Internet Access at Home? also found a similar lack of access for young people aged 15-24, with 759 million or 63 per cent unconnected at home.
"The massive number is more than a digital gap – it is a digital canyon”, said Henrietta Fore, Unicef Executive Director, in a media release on Tuesday.
The lack of connectivity, she continued, doesn’t just limit children and young people’s ability to connect online, it isolates them from the work and prevents them from competing in the modern economy.
"And in the event of school closures, such as those currently experienced by millions due to covid-19, it causes them to lose out on education. Put bluntly: Lack of internet access is costing the next generation their futures," Fore added.
According to Unicef, a quarter of a billion students worldwide are still affected by covid-19-related school closures, forcing hundreds of millions of students to rely on virtual learning.
For those with no internet access, education can be out of reach.
Even before the pandemic, a growing cohort of young people needed to learn foundational, transferable, digital, job-specific and entrepreneurial skills to compete in the 21st century economy.