‘Food is a priority, not the Internet’: Indian schools’ rush for online education hits digital divide

Lucknow / Chitrakoot: Eleven-year-old Reena Devi aspires to one day become a police officer. The girl lives in the village of Khopa, about 15 kilometers from the headquarters of the Chitrakoot district.

Reena was struck by an unforeseen tragedy when his school was closed due to the COVID-19[female[feminine pandemic. She comes from an economically disadvantaged background and was unable to resume her studies due to the the unavailability of a smartphone.

On the one hand, public school teachers are not teaching as they should. And now these online courses are a joke for people like us who can’t afford a smartphone and an internet connection, ”she said.

There is only one smartphone in my house. It is used by my older brother who refrains from giving us his phone. VSharassing the phone is also a problem in our village because the electricity supply is far from constant. As a result, I am totally dependent on my friends who have smartphones at home ”, added.

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Vipul and Sipul are twin brothers, both of whom study in grade 8 at a school in Lucknow. Two days after the announcement of the confinement, they left for their village in the district of Chitrakoot. The school did not give the brothers any homework, but as soon as the lockdown was extended, their father received a message from the school regarding online education.

Vinod Kumar, the boys’ father, who works as a driver for a NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) entrepreneur in Lucknow, was content that their education would not suffer. Didn’t know that a single smartphone at home would create a lot of problems go forward.

My wife uses a black and white phone, so I had to give my kids a new smartphone and a new cell connection with a good internet plan. It was an additional expense next to from school feess, Admission fees and the tuition fees I had paid in March. i was fineYes with that whereas I thought that my children would study ”, Vinod saidentifier.

However, the way the situation unfolded, Vinod said online education created a “split because my kids are in the same class but in different headings. As a result, their class times are different and they both want mobile at the same time which is now a problem for us. If I am going to buy another smartphone, I will have to borrow at least Rs 10,000 from someone. New mobile link already costs me an additional amount of Rs 500 per month for data usage, ” he added. He said if it lasted a few more days he would lose all his savings.

Suresh Pal, a pupil from class 11 to Siya Singh Inter VSollege has a smartphone, but not the money to get a data pack to study. “I a m from a poor family; my parents are daily bets. Before i found a daily paid work and recharge my cell phone. However, since lockdown was imposed, I have not been able to find work. If we have work, the money is used for food because it is a priority and not the Internet, ”he said.

You can only afford online courses when you have the money to buy a smartphone and get a data pack. Perspective looks good for people from wealthy families; not for people like us who depend on daily labor to make a living. There are breaks in families due to demand for a smartphone by children, ”said Lavkesh Pal, Suresh ‘father of s.

Naresh Paras, an Based on Agra child rights activist says that digital education has more drawbacks than merits.

I know of a case where the father had to sell his bike to get a new cell phone. Same after selling his only means of transport, he had to borrow money from a local lender. People are starving in this pandemic and need food first. Tits additional expense of Internet packs and smartphones adds to their misfortunes ”, Paras noted.

He added that instead of the internet-based education, schools could have taken help from community volunteerss. Samina Bano, a Based on Lucknow right to education activist said that at a time when survival is the priority for some, children can go without education for a while.

There is a very low penetration of smartphones with the Internet access among the economically weaker sections of the company in India, at on eight percent. People are strapped for cash and most of the content is available in EEnglish only. Apart from these faults, mobiles have a prejudice impact on health, leading to depression and poor view. It would have been better if there was a television or radio program to educate children, but unfortunately due to this unprecedented situation nothing could have been done. The problem is bigger in small schools because they do not have the capacity and the capacity to go online, ”she addsed.

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