Majority of Istanbul’s younger, low-income students do not own computer - IBB survey

The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) released a survey revealing that 58.5 percent of low-income families that have school-aged children in Istanbul did not own a computer at home.

The research presented in the Istanbul Statistics Office study called “Istanbul Poverty Research, Digital Access for Families with Children” looked into the access and use of digital resources of 65,924 households and families with children who are covered by welfare programmes.

According to the poll, 40.2 percent of low-income families with children did not have an internet subscription, and households with internet access decreased as the number of children in the family increased. Of the households partaking in the research, 36.9 percent had one child, 39.3 percent had two children, 42.6 percent had three children. In 46 percent of households with four or more children, there was no non-mobile internet subscription.

Almost three-quarters (74.5 percent) of the households had one or more children going to school.

When asked about their greatest difficulty in using the internet, 72.9 percent of respondents cited cost. Twenty-eight percent of the households did not have regular income coming in, while 54.4 percent earned under 2,500 Turkish lira ($315), 10.4 percent between 2,500 and 3,000 lira ($375), and 7.2 percent over 3,000 lira, the research showed. The minimum wage for 2020 is 2,324.70 lira ($292.91).

A half of survey-takers also said they could not use the internet because of slow connection, while 5.1 percent said they had no difficulty at all, the poll said.

The IBB study showed that a majority of the households commonly used internet for educational purposes – 70.5 percent of households said they used the internet most for education, 39.9 percent for socialising and 27.2 percent for business.

Only 2.6 percent of households did not have a mobile phone.

Access to education has seen new challenges in the country since March, when schools shut down as part of COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Turkish Education Ministry’s plan is to continue with remote education based on a mostly online model and open schools face-to-face at a limited capacity.