WHAT PRICE ONLINE CLASSES EXTRACT FROM POOR
In a world where online classes and virtual meetings have become the new normal - poor connectivity, lack of smartphones, no internet connection for that matter is a constant challenge for teachers and students both.
Currently, the online platform may be the only way to reach students during this pandemic, but the digital medium comes with its own challenges.
The situation is worse for those from remote, non-urban areas. Highlighting India’s digital divide, poor connectivity and lack of smart gadgets are proving a hassle for many students. As per a survey by online platform Local Circles, 43% of respondents do not possess resources which support online classes.
The major challenge of remote learning is the disparity in access – from electricity and internet connections to devices like computers or smartphones.
All India percentage of households having internet facilities stands at 23.8% with rural availability at 14.9% and urban at 42%.
Higher institutions like IITs have found that about 10% of their students are not equipped to access online classroom instructions from home.
This digital divide is evident across class, gender, region or place of residence.
There is no denying the fact that having online classes on a regular basis has a cost implication too, as students have to bear the cost of internet services. There is no communication yet from governments on whether it is going to reimburse students or will provide free or subsidised data packs.
In the current situation, many students, especially those whose families have lost income as a result of a lockdown-related job loss, will not be able to afford this which is unprecedentedly challenging.