PATHSALA: It has been more than a month since private and government schools in the country have been providing online classes and sharing study materials through various digital platforms with their students. However, many of the students are struggling to access the classes because of poor internet connectivity and lack of devices that support such classes. Students from various places of Bajali area are facing difficulties in attending online classes due to the lack of internet connectivity. Many times, the speed of Airtel, Jio network ranges between 5 kbps to 70 kbps.
Effect on Education Due to Weak Internet During COVID-19 Lockdown in Assam
Customers have complained that they buy net packs paying a heavy amount to use internet, but they do not get proper 4G service. Students from poor economic background are the worst affected. In this digital age, without internet it is difficult to access online education and even do bank transactions. People have urged the government to strengthen telecommunication services in the region.
A teacher of Bhattadev University said, "We had started our university's online classes for 2nd and 4th semesters, but some students cannot afford these online classes. Our classes are going on in Zoom or Google Meet, and it is being seen that many students cannot continue till the end of the lecture. If 30-40 students are there at the beginning, then only 5 remain till the end. When enquired in the group about the reason, the students said that data pack had finished and in some areas, network is not available. Inability of the financially weaker section to spend much on data and students from remote areas lacking proper network have hampered the online classes. I live in a village and I don't get proper network for which I got Wi-Fi connection. However, it is not possible for every student to do so."
Another teacher of a private school said, "We have been trying our best to provide online classes. However, some issues like network connectivity, high data rates and lack of smartphones have been a challenge for students, especially from rural areas and weaker financial background. If the network connectivity improves and data packs come in cheaper rates for students, it will be a boon for the students and parents from the rural villages and remote areas."