HP Inc. announced that it is partnering with the Global Business Coalition for Education and Comp-U-Dopt to provide equipment to students affected by school closures due to COVID-19 in Houston, Chicago, and Dallas.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly one in five students between kindergarten and 12th grade did not have computers or good internet access in the US. Last month, the majority of States mandated school closures to limit the spread of the virus and overnight millions of students, teachers, and parents turned to e-learning. But access remains a barrier for some of the most marginalized learners.
The Global Business Coalition for Education’s Rapid Education Action initiative forms partnerships between the business community, organizations and school systems to respond to emergencies and disruptions in education. To limit the impact on students and despite high demand and shortages, HP Inc, the leading computer and technology company, is donating 7,600 new monitors to Comp-U-Dopt which will assemble and distribute units to children of low-income families in Chicago, Dallas, and Houston. These efforts are part of a broader push for the company to support education around the world at the time of COVID-19. According to Alex Cho, President of Personal Systems at HP, “HP is committed to enabling better learning outcomes for 100 million people by 2025. With so many students in the U.S. impacted by the COVID-19 school closures, an important and urgent part of our mission is to help keep them connected to instruction. Thanks to the partnership with Global Business Coalition for Education, we’re able to help them adapt to the new normal of remote learning and bridge a widening digital divide.”
Starting next week, Houston based Comp-U-Dopt will distribute this equipment for free to children in low-income families in Houston and soon in Chicago and Dallas. The organization, which has more than 13 years of experience improving access to technology, is on track to distribute more than double their annual distribution to families in just two months. The majority of recipient households thus far earn $35,000 a year or less, and are the most impacted by the digital divide. Per Megan Steckly, CEO of Comp-U-Dopt, “This equipment will unlock access to distance education for these children and help them continue learning with their peers with equal access to digital tools.” In response to the current crisis, Comp-U-Dopt has been able to ramp up its efforts in Houston, and will now be extending to Chicago and Dallas.
“In the past few weeks, being able to access a computer, the internet, or printed material made the difference between continuing to learn or falling behind. The COVID-19 crisis is disproportionally affecting children from underserved communities by increasing the learning gap and digital divide,” said Justin van Fleet, the Coalition’s Executive Director.
According to van Fleet, “Before this crisis, on any single day 260 million children were not going to school in the world. Now, with school closures, more than 1.5 billion children are impacted. We are very grateful for HP and Comp-U-Dopt to help children in Houston, Dallas and Chicago to continue learning.” For the past few weeks, the organization has mobilized its members to help limit the impact of school closures. So far more than 30 companies have stepped forward to provide tools, services and equipment, which are available for educators on a dedicated platform. The Global Business Coalition for Education is now encouraging other businesses to follow HP’s example.