Medicine For Good

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Digital Divide in Schools Accentuated by the Pandemic | Betsy Nikolchev and Fatai Heimuli

Season 1, Ep. 10

As Covid-19 continues to impact our daily lives, education is one of the areas that are heavily affected by this rapid transformation. Fortunately, the children of today have been surrounded by digital technology since birth.

However, despite the presence of widespread technology around us, children do not have equal opportunities or availability of these resources. There is a huge digital divide prevalent in many communities, schools, and institutions. The pandemic has suddenly and abruptly forced schools and education to pivot into this much-needed transformation to a digitalized world. 

Now, more than ever, Covid-19 has accentuated and revealed the already known inequity.

This episode tackles how our students, though surrounded by a plethora of technology, are impacted by all these uncertainties, inequities, and expected competencies.  But how about the parents who are ill-prepared to support their children at home? 

I am joined by Betsy Nikolchev and Fatai Heimuli, who expounded on the digital divide and inequity of resources and what measures are taken to help the marginalized population cope with the challenges during the pandemic. 


Memorable Quotes:

  • This is about authentic conversations and about not pretending that any of us have all the answers. We’re each going to bring our funds of knowledge. As educators, we're going to bring our materials. Families and students bring their knowledge of experiences. And that is how you build trust. - Betsy Nikolchev
  • It's really interesting to see the sparks of hope come alive in their eyes as they get excited about being a college student. And I'm watching that stigma disappear. The stigma surrounding community college, I'm watching it disappear as parents are really engaging in that kind of dialogue with their children, and also with our health as well. So it's just been a very rewarding opportunity. - Fatai Heimuli


About the Guests:

Betsy Nikolchev is the founder and Executive Director of the Family Engagement Institute (FEI) at Foothill College. She is committed to educational equity that promotes multigenerational pathways to college, for first-generation students and marginalized communities. Betsy has been in education for 30 plus years and began her teaching journey in Los Angeles as part of her goal to make a difference in the lives of children.  She then realized that children come with families and the well-being of children is integral to the well-being of families and their respective communities, hence her involvement in FEI.

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Fatai Heimuli is a Tongan-American student intern with FEI. She is passionate about serving marginalized communities as well as upholding equity in all her work.  

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Family Engagement Institute (FEI)


About the Host:

Dr. Jette is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Stanford University and the President & CEO of ABCs for Global Health. Click here for her full profile or read her full interview here.


About ABC's for Global Health:

ABCs for Global Health is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding practical​ solutions to health problems of disadvantaged and underserved communities. Their programs include telemedicine, research on nutrition and healthcare, and disaster response.


Visit these links if you'd like to support either by volunteering or sharing your resources:

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