Work to tackle digital inequality in Scotland and provide every school pupil with a laptop or tablet has started.

Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has confirmed that discussions with local authorities are underway to deliver the ambitious commitment, which will benefit 700,000 children.

The Scottish Government are also considering how to deliver consistent digital infrastructure across the country’s 2,500 school buildings.

The announcement delivers on another commitment for the first 100 days of this government.

Somerville said: “Every child has the right to an education and we believe that means an education supported and enhanced by technology. This as a vital aspect of an education system in the digital age which was clearly demonstrated by the pandemic.

“This is a hugely ambitious programme of work that will build on efforts to tackle digital inclusion during the pandemic. These early talks with Scottish councils are a positive step towards delivering this commitment.”

Prior to the May election, the SNP released a ‘First Steps’ document outlining 80 different pledges that would be met within the first 100 days of being elected.

It promised that by the end of this parliamentary session, all 700,000 school-aged pupils in Scotland will have access to an appropriate digital device, and where necessary an internet connection, to support their learning. 

The latest development is part of ongoing support to close the digital divide during the pandemic.

Connecting Scotland, a programme launched in 2020 to provide low-income households with digital devices, data, training and support to get online, has so far reached 9,000 people at clinically high or extremely high risk from Covid-19.

It has also helped 23,000 families with children or young care leavers and 5,000 socially isolated older and disabled people.

Investment in the scheme has now been increased to more than £48 million. This includes £26.6 million for the third and next stage of the initiative, meaning a total of 60,000 households will be helped by the end of 2021.