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Students in remote areas fail to attend online classes

Published : 05 Aug 2021 09:49 PM | Updated : 06 Aug 2021 02:42 AM

Many students, not privileged enough, are the worst victims of not able to continue attending regular online lessons due to remoteness and poor internet connectivity.

Covid-19 has harshly hit all the students in the country, but marginal students are the worst sufferers. Although online classes are ongoing across the country, many in the remote and border areas cannot participate much due to the weakness of mobile network and lack of devices.

Although several attempts have been made to open educational institutions amid the difficulties of Covid-19 crisis, it has not been possible due to the incessant surge in infections.

Meanwhile, the government has arranged TV and online (internet) classes following March last year for students to continue their studies. But due to lack of technology and poor connectivity students from marginal and bordering communities have not been able to participate.

The crisis is evident in Rangamati, Bandarban, Khagrachhari, Brahmanbaria, Thakurgaon, Sathira, Jessore and parts of Sylhet divisions.

Hlayou Marma is a sixth grader at Bangladesh Navy School and College in Kaptai, Rangamati. Although online classes are regularly conducted from school, not all mobile operators in the hilly areas have good internet services. So, he is having difficulty attending regular online classes.

Hlayou told Bangladesh Post, "I join online classes using my parent's mobile set. There is hardly any network to go online from my house. So, when the class starts, I have to find higher ground to access network. Moreover, load-shedding here is a common phenomenon."

Two-thirds areas are hilly areas in Madhupur upazila of Tangail. As the road connectivity in these areas is underdeveloped, so is the mobile network.

New Chishim, a 10th grade student of St Paul's High School in Pirgachha, Madhupur, said that he cannot afford to an expensive mobile set to continue studies online.

His classmate Smrity Mree said her older sister works in a beauty parlour. She bought a smart handset for Tk 7,000 despite his hardship. But since there is no network at home, she can't join online classes despite having the device.

When contacted, Arun Mree, headmaster of St Paul's High School, told Bangladesh Post, "Two-thirds of the more than 700 students in the school are from the Garo community and most of them are disadvantaged. Although I started online classes, it was not very effective due to technical weaknesses."

"My school has a broadband internet connection, but it often does not work properly. Again, the mobile network is very weak in villages like Joynagachha, Biduria, Kakragni, etc. The only learning for the students is the assignment given by the school," he added

"However, it is not possible to progress students' studies with assignments alone if the teacher is not able to conduct classes. Many of the topics in the textbooks are not easily met with assignments as the way teachers make the students learn," he further added.

Madhupur Upazila Secondary Education Officer. Abdur Rashid said that there are 30,000 students from 6th class to graduation in Madhupur upazila. A proposal has been sent to the Ministry of Education to build 15 WiFi stations on an emergency basis in remote areas so that they can take classes online. Once these are built, the students will be able to make up for it.

Meanwhile, like school and college, students of public and private universities living in remote areas are deprived of online classes. They say even though their respective department has organized classes, it is difficult to understand the classes for low video call quality, as the internet speed is not as good in all parts of the country as in the capital.

Anik Hasan, a student in the marketing department of the East West University in the capital, used to study, staying in a mess (shared room) in Dhaka. But as the university has been closed for a long time and the educational activities are conducted online, he has moved to his village home in Thakurgaon.

Anik told Bangladesh Post, "Broadband WiFi facility is available in the city, and mobile internet connection is also better. But I am having trouble at my village home. If I want to join classes, I have to go to and open field with notebooks, pens and mobiles. My CGPA has dropped."