GeoVLE takes action to reduce inequalities in access to tuition

Updated: Jan 22

GeoVLE offers termly scholarships for bespoke 1:1 learning for students who would otherwise not be able to afford personalised tuition.

According to Malala Yousafzai, “The educational consequences of coronavirus will last beyond the period of school closures, disproportionately affecting marginalised girls”.

The GeoVLE Scholarship is open to female students aged 11-18 and requires entrants to submit one piece of work that offers a solution or suggestion to any one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

  • The scholarship programme includes 24 one hour sessions over 3 months with our team of highly qualified, innovative educators, who will co-create a learning journey on our GeoVLE platform tailored to the scholars’ interests and learning goals.

  • There are opportunities to speak with the judges of the competition about their careers in science and education.

  • At the end of the term, scholars will have a digital portfolio to showcase their learning, ambitions and talents.

Founder, Kirstin Coughtrie said, “I started GeoVLE two years ago when I was working in an exclusive private school. The inequalities in the system were all too apparent and I wanted to find a way to share my passion for teaching about the world with more children who didn’t have access to the opportunities afforded to those in the private sector.

I started by running small group classes to make my sessions accessible and students could join from community libraries or any device that had access to the internet. During lockdown, one particularly bright student stopped attending when her mum could no longer afford the sessions. I challenged her to write an essay about a Sustainable Development Goal she felt most passionate about. She took up the challenge through art and a heartfelt essay about poverty in the UK, resulting in the birth of “The GeoVLE Scholarship”.

Judging the first successful submission, Dr Emma Rawling-Smith, Lecturer in Education at the University of Leicester said, “Erin’s essay focused on the poverty crisis is very timely as we should all be concerned about the welfare of all of the citizens who live in our country, particularly during a global pandemic. Erin’s argument is powerful and she writes on a topic on which she is very knowledgeable. Her response considers how the government and large organisations could make positive changes to support people living in poverty and she makes the important point that we should all work together to tackle poverty and make our society more equitable.”

Dr Lydia Cole, Associate Lecturer at the University of St Andrews, agreed to be involved in judging the award and said, “Erin’s application for the GeoVLE Scholarship proved her great suitability for the award. Her essay and beautiful accompanying artwork irradiated passion, insight and deep consideration of some of the greatest challenges that UK (and indeed global) society currently faces: poverty and inequality. She writes compassionately about what she has observed happening around her in the UK, the many interconnected issues that are faced by children through to adults living in poverty, and provides a range of innovative ways of solving some of the problems she describes. Erin demonstrates a knowledge of both her home nation’s politics and practices, and those happening internationally. It would be wonderful to see how this Scholarship with GeoVLE could broaden Erin’s knowledge and horizons, and empower her to campaign for some of the changes she would like to see happen in the world.”

Covid-19 has exacerbated inequalities in access to education. According to the UN, ‘remote learning remains out of reach for over 500 million students’. There are times when challenges present opportunities for positive change and the judges loved Erin’s wise words on education:

“If different study options were given to children at a younger age, allowing them to choose what and how they want to learn, and letting them know all of the options they have when they leave school, that is not just college or Uni, then maybe more children would excel and be successful.”

We hope Erin will be the first of many girls in the GeoVLE Scholarship Programme making the most of our innovative and evolving online learning environment and being inspired by our passionate educators and links to industry experts.

If you know someone who is passionate about making an impact in their community and the world, encourage them to apply for a scholarship with us.

For more information email

#sdg10reducinginequality #sdg4qualityeducation #teachSDGsambassador

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