Drive to donate computers for distance learning students

Efforts are underway around the country to make sure all children who need to study via distance learning have the right technology to participate in their classes.

File picture of child with tablet / Credit: iStock

A number of initiatives are underway in Finland to provide computer for students who don’t have their own, and help them keep up with distance learning classes.

Most classes are canceled until the middle of May, with education officials making contingency plans to write off the rest of the school year right through to summer, potentially.

With lessons now moving online, there is concern that not every pupil will have access to their right technology. Municipalities and individual schools are involved in their own efforts to make sure kids have computers, but there are other schemed underway as well.

The ‘Computers for All‘ campaign is hoping to find 1,000 donated laptops, and is primarily looking for old computers from businesses, which are then reformatted and given to children who need them.

The campaign started at Christmas 2015, when the Finnish game industry got the idea to collect used computers and tablets from companies for families who otherwise cannot afford to buy one.

The donated tech is collected by Helsinki-based 3stepIT and the machines are reformatted and installed with Microsoft products. They’re distributed through local partners around the country to students who need them.

President Sauli Niinistö is a patron of the campaign, which has so far collected 230 computers, with a goal of 1,000 donated devices

Oulu computer donation 

Meanwhile in Oulu, the local school district has received a donation of 50 tablets from local company Aava Mobile.

“The tablets go to schoolchildren. Many homes are in a situation where there are more users than appliances. Of course, all 50 tablets go to different families” says Mika Penttilä, Director of Education and Culture in Oulu.

“We are very grateful that companies in some way bear social responsibility in this situation. They want to be in the business of promoting digital and increasing the skills of children and young people by having the necessary equipment” he adds.