27 January 2021
Inspired by Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford's free school meals campaign, SOAS alumnus and England rugby star Maro Itoje is campaigning to provide laptops to pupils disadvantaged by the ‘digital divide’.
During the third UK Lockdown, where schools are closed and schoolchildren are learning remotely, Maro (BA Politics, 2017) is helping to tackle the school laptop shortage, which is leaving a huge number of young people unfairly disadvantaged. He has utilised the platform afforded to him by his rugby career to draw attention to social injustice.
Maro is calling attention to the current necessity of getting computers and free broadband into the homes of around 1.78 million children, who have been left unable to participate in online lessons. Post-pandemic, he’s seeking a review that could pave the way for every child in England to receive a free laptop as part of standardised state-school kit.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, Maro said:
“What Marcus has done has been amazing, continually holding the government to account and being a voice for the most vulnerable children. For me it is about getting the kids what they need, and any way I can help do that I will. The absolute priority right now is guaranteeing children have devices to learn. When they go back to school, we need a review on access to laptops to support careers in a digitally driven world ... In future, everyone needs a laptop, the way the world is moving.”
If you would like to donate a laptop to help schoolchildren in England, visit Tech for UK, Business2Schools, Laptops for Kids or The Great British tech appeal.
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