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HSBC has partnered with St. James’ Settlement to help Hong Kong students and parents from low income families gain access to online learning and enhance their digital literacy.

The bank is gifting more than HK$10 million to the charitable organisation to purchase tablets and mobile Wi-Fi routers to benefit 3000 students from disadvantaged background through the Gleeful E-Learning Journey Programme.

The initiative also provides a variety of workshops for both the students and their parents, covering digital competence, emotion management, and the parent-child relationship. Students can expect to improve their digital skills to make the most out of technology for effective learning. Parents will focus on coaching and how to help their families use technology responsibly and safely.

“COVID-19 has permanently changed how people are using technology in their everyday lives. As schools increasingly integrate online learning with traditional education, we need to ensure that we do not leave students who are less digitally equipped further behind in a post-coronavirus world. I am particularly impressed by how the programme engages with families holistically to help our young people navigate some of the challenges they may be facing at school and in their social lives,” said Diana Cesar, chief executive for HSBC Hong Kong.  

"We are together to fight against the epidemic. We hope to provide the deprived students with equal learning opportunities and to enhance their digital competence under the rapid changing learning mode. Thank you HSBC for the encouragement and generous support to these students," said Josephine Lee, CEO at St James' Settlement.

The Gleeful E-Learning Journey Programme supports primary one to secondary three students, who are half-grant recipients of the School Textbook Assistance Scheme or come from families not qualified for the Community Care Fund due to special reasons. Schools from districts with a higher poverty rate in Hong Kong will be given priority under this programme. St. James’ Settlement will invite schools to submit applications.

A survey conducted by St. James’ Settlement in August shows that students, who fall outside of the social safety net, often do not have sufficient resources for online learning. Nearly 40% of the surveyed schools said families who are half-grant recipients of the School Textbook Scheme cannot afford to pay for a computer. About 30% of the schools said students give up learning opportunities because of poor Wi-Fi or data support.