Education remains the most effective route to social change for individuals and communities. It has the power to challenge bigotry and ignorance and to enable citizens to question, debate, and appreciate different points of view without resorting to violence. It is therefore in the interest of the state that education remains open and accessible to all its citizens. The pandemic has revealed in painful detail the extent to which access to school-level education is not uniform across the UK (or the world), in some cases widening the existing gap in educational attainment of school children from richer and poorer families. Technology has previously been sold as a way to close that gap but uneven access to computers and Wi-Fi during the pandemic has, if anything, widened this attainment gap with likely long-term implications for a generation. Too many minds will have been turned off prematurely without being able to realise their potential, impacting personal goals and dreams. This situation must never be repeated. Moving forward, we must provide all school-age children with access to laptops that can take full advantage of the growing body of online educational material, irrespective of how much their parents earn or where they live. Only by doing this will we grow a nation with the curiosity to explore what can be achieved individually and achieved collectively as a nation.
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