A grandma struggles to buy a smartphone so her grandson can attend online classes. But she’s not alone in this struggle because a lot of parents are having a hard time meeting the requirements so their children can still continue with their studies amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Online Education Amid COVID Crisis
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, many places are imposing or planning to do online classes to minimize direct contact. This will help stop the rapid spread of the virus.
Though online classes seem like a great idea, this is a big struggle for many who don’t have money to buy gadgets and pay for the monthly internet connection necessary for this to happen.
Jatupol Boriboon works at a Vivo Smartphone store in Rattanaburi, Thailand. One day, an old woman went to their shop accompanied by her young grandson. She wants to buy a phone that’s just worth 2,000 baht ($62) because that’s the only money she has.
Curious, Boriboon asked whether she needs it for herself but was sad to hear that the boy couldn’t continue his education if they don’t buy a smartphone. The store didn’t have any smartphone for that amount – and those that can be bought for a less amount need to be subscribed to a monthly postpaid plan. The old woman can’t also afford that.
According to Boriboon, the old woman was not able to buy a smartphone from their store, but he is unsure whether she found one somewhere else. Yet the incident made him think how difficult it is for the many to do online classes.
“Online learning is a great initiative but for kids who are from poor families, it is a privilege. Most elementary school students do not have phones and now they have online classes which will burden quite a few parents,” Boriboon wrote.
The post has since gotten viral, with many debating about the pros and cons of online learning amid the pandemic.
Shift to Online Learning
In many countries around the world, there is a growing trend of shifting to online learning now that the pandemic is still affecting the globe. There have been schools that opened despite the pandemic, only for students to get infected after weeks of classes.
But online learning is still a subject of much debate, particularly in poorer countries where many students come from families who can’t even afford to buy meals 3 times a day! Some countries are suggesting that TVs and radio sets will be used to educate kids yet this will also pose other challenges, such as who will monitor the kids with their parents going out to work and how the students can pass their school work for proper grading.