The Educational Digital Divide for Vulnerable Students in the Pandemic: Towards the New Agenda 2030

Helmi Norman, Nor Hafizah Adnan, Norazah Nordin, Mohamed Ally, Avgoustos Tsinakos

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused school closures worldwide and has disrupted nearly 1.6 billion students across the globe. This has widened existing digital gaps and has caused vulnerable students to be further digitally displaced. In efforts to mitigate this issue, various strategies have been used to cater for the educational digital divide of vulnerable students. However, there is a lack of studies investigating the relationship between access and connectivity of learning and use and exploitation of technology, particularly with regards to iPads during the pandemic. Thus, the present study investigates this scenario by examining the digital educational divide for vulnerable students in the pandemic, in terms of access and connectivity and use and exploitation. A survey was distributed to 518 vulnerable students in schools between the ages of 10 and 15 years old, and results were analyzed using partial least squares–structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM). The findings indicate that asynchronous learning is a stronger construct than synchronous learning, while creativity skills was stronger than productivity skills with regard to the use and exploitation of technology for pandemic learning of vulnerable students. This study’s findings could assist future developers and educators in the development of effective emergency teaching and learning strategies and design.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10332
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Aug. 2022


  • COVID-19 education
  • UNESCO education 2030
  • digital divide
  • emergency remote learning
  • online learning
  • vulnerable students


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