The digital divide reared its head again in my domestic area this week, and I realised that there are a lot of people who for may reasons, their own and outside sources, choose not to immigrate.
My daughter, because of her scores in the year 5 testing at primary school, has been offered 12 free lessons from a tutor. The govt. gave me the option to choose my own tutor or go through the school.
I choose to pick out my own tutor as I had one who was excellent, at english, math and physics, and already helping my son with his studies. She is in much demand and had to shift few things around to accommodate my daughter, I was grateful. I told her about the 12 lessons that would be financed by the government, and she agreed to sign up. This is where everything started to unravel, she signed up and learned that she had to report and be reported upon, online.
This tutor lives in a small 'hamlet' if you will, about 70 kms from our fair city. She has no internet, a mobile that works as she approaches the city and no computer skills. She teaches in another smaller town closer to her home, but most of her clients are in our desert city and she travels a lot to achieve this. She has a goat, chickens, a life style that suits her and family links to the land that keep her in her chosen place. She tells me she has no need for a computer, its her choice.
I can't imagine a life without email and other ways of socially networking, this lady whom I consider a friend, talks to people and has a cup of tea and a chat. She uses exercise notbooks for the tutoring and my son has learnt more about math from her than any computer lesson he has taken through another tutoring method.
I can't help wondering what the world would be like if some of these intelligent, articulate and warm people enter the 21st century and get online, maybe they will, maybe they won't, but I consider myself lucky to retain her as tutor for my children, they are learning!