Nearly 56 percent of underprivileged children do not have a personal desk at home, a survey released yesterday by the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families (TFCF) showed.
The survey, which was conducted from March 25 to April 30, looked at the learning resources of disadvantaged students in urban and rural areas.
The survey found that 55.5 percent of disadvantaged students in urban and rural areas did not have a personal desk at home, 76.9 percent did not have a “quiet reading space” and 79.9 percent did not have reference books to help them complete their school assignments.
The survey found that 58.5 percent of underprivileged students in urban areas and 70.6 percent of underprivileged students in rural areas did not have access to a desktop computer, a laptop or a tablet in their household.
Meanwhile, 37.69 percent of disadvantaged students who had access to digital learning devices at home said that they did not have an Internet connection.
While digital learning has become mainstream amid efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the outbreak has also highlighted the lack of learning resources disadvantaged children have, the TFCF said.
A majority of disadvantaged students — 55.51 percent of urban students and 52.45 percent of rural students — said that they spent up to NT$500 on school supplies each month.
The survey found that 7.63 percent of underprivileged students spent no money on school supplies, while 12.95 percent spent NT$501 to NT$1,000 each month and 3.34 percent spent NT$1,001 to NT$1,500 each month.
It found that 59.52 percent of underprivileged students in urban areas and 60.29 percent of underprivileged students in rural areas had 10 or fewer extracurricular books at home.
The survey collected 1,166 valid responses from students in grades 3 through 7, who are served by the organization, the TFCF said.
It had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
In the survey, “rural” referred to places where the population density was lower than two-fifths of the national average, the TFCF said, adding that this was based on the definition of “remote areas” in the Enforcement Rules of the Early Childhood Education and Care Act (幼兒教育及照顧法施行細則).
The TFCF also released a video directed by Kurt Lu (盧建彰) to promote its Anti-Poverty Generation program, which helps underprivileged children and their families.
The video features Lin Yu-han (林宇涵), a 13-year-old student and judo athlete from Taitung County, who the TFCF has assisted since November 2011.
Donations to the TFCF have dropped since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the TFCF said.
From January to May, it received about 30 percent less than the same period in previous years, it added.
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