According to the statement, only 8.7% of the poorest 20% households in Bangladesh have internet access at home as compared with 75.3% of the richest 20% households
In Bangladesh, 62% of households do not have internet access at home, according to the Multiple-Indicator Cluster Survey conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics in 2019.
It also says that there is a large difference in internet access depending on the households’ socio-economic backgrounds, read a press release published by Unicef on Tuesday.
According to the statement, only 8.7% of the poorest 20% households in Bangladesh have internet access at home as compared with 75.3% of the richest 20% households.
When it comes to television – another main medium for distance learning – the percentage of households owning a television is 51% nationally. At the same time, only 4.8% for the poorest 20% households own a television as compared with 90.2% of the richest 20% households.
Worldwide, two thirds of school-age children have no internet at home, the Unicef report found, even as pandemic-induced school closures have made online access vital to getting an education.
In all, an estimated 1.3 billion children between the ages of three and 17 do not have internet connections in their homes, said the joint report from the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
“Children without access to these means of distance learning are bearing the brunt of the digital divide and inequity. They have less access to learning opportunities during the pandemic, putting their education and future in jeopardy," said Tomoo Hozumi, the Unicef representative in Bangladesh.
“This divide exacerbates the pre-existing inequalities. It can perpetuate the vicious cycle of poverty and disparity from one generation to the next, with children becoming its transmission belt,” he added.
Around 42 million children are affected by Covid-19 school closures in Bangladesh.
For those with no access to the internet or TV, education can effectively 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.
The digital divide is perpetuating inequalities that already divide countries and communities, the report notes.
Children and young people from the poorest households and rural and lower income states are falling even further behind their peers and are left with very little opportunity to ever catch up.