Closing the educational divide and the digital skills gap has always been important to technologically-minded educators, but the disruptions of COVID-19 have brought a new urgency. Ensuring all students can participate equitably and fulfill their dreams in society hinges on having the right access to technology, especially in the education system.

Students from underserved schools often lag behind in skills and opportunity when they leave the education system. When used responsibly, technology can be a real equalizer in the education field—it helps close the educational divide and creates the opportunity to build the digital skills necessary for the high-demand jobs of the future.

Students who leave school with these skills can better compete on a playing field often tipped against them. Skilling all of our students for the digital workforce, regardless of socioeconomic status or ability, is one of the most powerful ways we can help level that playing field.

High stakes for tech skills

While the global economy has long been moving toward digital transformation, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated that trajectory. The need for digital skills transcends industries. On the individual level, people who were working in offices with on-site support before the pandemic are now working in living rooms and garages, and many suddenly find they not only need to use a wider array of digital tools but they also have become their own IT departments.

About the Author:

Jacky Wright is the Chief Digital Officer and Corporate Vice President, Microsoft US, where she inspires and leads teams to help businesses leverage technology to drive innovation, adopt sustainable and accessible business models, and digitally transform. She uses her broad platform to drive thought leadership not just for the positive impact of digital transformation for business, but also for social, economic and environmental change.