Teacher attitudes to costs and funding

OUP’s survey revealed some interesting and occasionally unexpected teacher attitudes to costs and funding.

When asked to describe the main barriers to digital learning, the cost of data and other expenses associated with digital technology ranked forth of six options (31 per cent), coming in below lack of digital competency (56 per cent). For respondents in some countries, this may suggest that government schemes to ensure digital learning is affordable have largely been a success. When asked what challenges they, as educators, had experienced during the pandemic, only 20 per cent cited government funding on education as an issue.

However, 42 per cent per cent of teachers said uneven provision of computers and net access was an issue for their students and 66 per cent of students had to share devices with multiple family members; these issues very likely relate to affordability for many families. Interestingly, 30 per cent of teachers said the cost of mobile phone data had been a problem for their learners, ranking it fairly low on the scale of challenges (seventh of 11 options).

Yet, when asked what extra support they wanted from their government, teachers’ top three requests all linked to funding: support for improving connectivity (51 per cent); more funding for schools and institutions (45 per cent), and increased funding for technology (42 per cent). On a personal level, teachers in OUP’s survey may have worked at schools or in areas with relatively good funding, or been beneficiaries of charitable donations (e.g. of laptops); yet recognized in their responses that at a national level, there are significant funding challenges.