Report reveals digital learning issues in Polish education

Darek Delmanowicz/PAP

The pandemic has revealed the growing problem of “hardware exclusion” in Polish households when it comes to digital learning, a report of the Polish Economic Institute (PIE) has shown.

Although 97 percent of households have at least one computer at their disposal, many are experiencing difficulties because computers have to be shared between siblings, PIE wrote in its report 'Digital challenges facing Polish education'.

Ignacy Swiecicki, one of the authors of the report, said that unequal access to infrastructure and the need to share hardware, leading to hardware exclusion, are increasing the education gap.

Decreases in connection bandwidth and a limited amount of monthly data transfer are also turning out to be a barrier to remote learning.

According to PIE, during online lessons 47 percent of students used a smartphone much more often than a computer and viewed websites and applications not related to their education.

On top of that as many as 85 percent of teachers had declared that they had very little experience in using tools necessary for remote teaching, and only 5 percent of them described their skills in this area as being "very good."

Only 8 percent of students felt that teachers were very well prepared for online education and 62 percent of them considered remote learning ineffective.

According to experts, teachers treat online contact with students "as a form of giving assignments to be done by students on their own, which hurt weak students the most and those who did not have sufficient parental support."