The growing digital divide in education among primary and secondary children during the COVID-19 pandemic: An overview of social exclusion and education equality issues

Ali Cheshmehzangi, Tong Zou, Zhaohui Su, Tian Tang

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The growing digital divide issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic are critical to widening disparities and inequalities. Yet, only a few studies have explored the impacts of the digital divide on the education sector. In particular, there is a research gap related to younger students of primary and secondary schools. This study addresses this research gap by providing an overview of the digital divide’s impacts on social exclusion and education equality issues. In doing so, the study argues the effects of COVID-19 on the growing digital divide. Such influence is then studied based on the increasing education inequalities due to the digital divide and the eventual social exclusion increase among primary and secondary school children. The study explores the nexus between social exclusion and the digital divide before reflecting on EI as a type of social exclusion. While the main target groups of the study, i.e., primary and secondary school children, are not surveyed, the survey is conducted from two associated stakeholder group, i.e., (1) educators/teachers/managerial members of primary and secondary schools, and (2) parents/guardians of students. A total of 30 schools are surveyed to evaluate the digital divide correlation with “education inequality dimensions” and “social exclusion variables.” The vulnerability of schoolchildren from primary and secondary schools is multifaceted as we are yet to witness future psychological and emotional/behavioral impacts of the ongoing pandemic on those affected at a younger age. The paper’s findings help verify correlations between DD and social exclusion and education inequality.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment
Early online date15 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished Online - 15 Apr 2022

Keywords

  • children
  • COVID-19
  • Digital divide
  • education inequality
  • social exclusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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