Dimpi Das, a class 10 student who resides in Kurua village in Darrang district is struggling to continue her studies via online mode due to the unavailability of a smartphone. There is a 4G mobile internet tower just 200 meters away from her home. Yet the 15-year-old has not attended a single online class in the last 15 months, as her father – a daily-wage worker – cannot afford a smartphone.
Dimpi, however, has managed to “attend” a few classes beamed on the FM network on her father’s basic mobile handset.
Students like her cannot afford the luxury, Dimpi is among the thousands of students deprived of online classes that have been the preferred form of medium amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
This has become a big reason of concern for these children who fear their wards will fail to continue their curriculum if this situation continues and schools don’t open.
During the first wave of lockdown, many people lost their jobs and thus, are not able to afford the constant recharge of internet packages for their child’s online classes. The lockdown has pushed them to poverty and paying Rs. 300 to 500 for mobile internet recharge is difficult.
Assam has over 60 lakhs students in schools including both the government-run and the private ones.
A survey of Annual Status of Education Report (ASER -Rural), 2020 had found that only one in every two government school students in Assam have access to a smartphone for online classes and three in every four students in private schools have a digital device.