The lockdowns have exacerbated the digital divide and educational disparities in France. In March 2020, lockdown measures forced schools to switch to remote learning, leaving disadvantaged children behind. The French Ministry of Education reported that over 500,000 low-income pupils had dropped out due to the digital divide, creating an educational crisis.
The Foundation responded to the country’s schooling crisis by expanding the #WeAreAllConnected Initiative to France.
The following initiatives were implemented:
- Thomas Edison High School in Échirolles received 20 PCs in July 2020. One of the Foundation’s Board Members, Patrick Dureault, spoke about the digital divide and the Foundation’s goal.
- In Chambéry the Association “Ma Chance Moi Aussi” received 15 more laptops in September 2020 to help children, families, and teachers close the digital divide.
- ST sites in France donated more than 100 PCs to various organizations to help them manage their educational operations. More in detail: 27 PCs were given to the La Garenne Highschool in Voiron and the La Varappe association in Aubagne in Q1 2021; 17 PCs were given to Vercors Sciences in Lans en Vercors and Grésifablab in Crolles in Q3 2021; and the Parents d’Elèves indépendant de Montlouis group, CSC La Passerelle, the University of Grenoble, and Marie Curie High School in Echirolles received 33 PCs in the fourth quarter of 2021.
In 2022, thanks to the partnerships established with the ST Sites in France, the Foundation donated more than 300 PCs to various organizations :
- Q1 2022, 83 PCs were sent to the Foundation in Morocco to support the restart of activities in Morocco and setting up new DU labs
- Q2 2022, over 60 PCs were dispatched to primary schools and high schools in Grenoble and Rennes
- Q3 2022, some 30 PCs were allocated to various associations to support Ukrainian refugees in France, including 18 PCs to the Red Cross for its “Ukrainian Village” in Tours.
- Q4 2022, More than 30 PCs were donated to associations to bridge the digital divide for adults and older people.
In 2023 the “#Noonebehind Project” has taken on a new dimension, and in the first half of the year, the Foundation, in France, has donated over 600 PCs as well as some other digital equipment such as monitors and Smartphones to various associations and organizations. More than 50% of the PCs have gone towards educational support, nursery, and primary schools, secondary schools & high schools, universities, and adult education.
Here below is a testimony from one of the primary schools who received some PCs from the Foundation earlier this year :
“Over the last fifteen years or so, our school has been developing its hardware in order to introduce children to IT tools, but also to develop autonomy and individualized learning. Now that our first laptops have given up the ghost, we can continue and even develop this work, thanks to the laptops donated to us by your foundation.
“IT” is now at the heart of our learning. All history/geography teaching is done using digital books (didapages) created by the school’s teachers, some classes are taking part in departmental digital projects (geoméScratch, for example), pupils from CP to CM are perfecting their reading, working on mental arithmetic, spelling and English, and taking part in reading rallies using online applications or tools created by the teachers.
These tools also make it possible to personalize learning and remedial activities, and to easily create or use levels of difficulty adapted to each pupil, which is a great help in dealing with pupils with special needs.
A big thank you from the whole school for your donation!”
Another specific donation was to the French Association “Aide Médicale & Caritative France-Ukraine”. Three pallets of digital equipment (PCs, monitors, keyboards …) were shipped, along with one of the Association’s humanitarian expeditions, to the Kharkiv region in Ukraine where more than half the schools have been destroyed and PCs have become indispensable tools to allow schoolchildren to follow their classes remotely.