As online classes continue in government schools, students and their parents are struggling to set aside enough money to pay for internet on their phones.
At Trilokpuri, in East Delhi, residents recently held a meeting with area MLA Rohit Mehraulia, asking him to provide more WiFi hotspots in the area to ensure children do not have to suffer due to a lack of internet connectivity.
Last year, the Delhi government launched its much awaited WiFi scheme at public places. According to officials, out of nearly 10,000 places identified, hotspots are functional at 7,000 places. MLA Mehraulia also said that work to set up hotspots in Trilokpuri is underway. “A few have been installed already and soon there will be one on nearly every street,” he said.
But Afsana (30) and her three children do not have connectivity near their home in Trilokpuri. “Recharging the phone every few days is a big burden for us. My husband, a rickshaw driver, earns around Rs 4,000 a month. Two of my children are in Class V and XI. We heard that WiFi would be installed in the area… if that happens, the children can study without interruptions,” she said. She recharges her phone for Rs 250 per month.
Similarly Pradeep Kumar, School Management Committee member of Premchand Rajkiya Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, said, “Teachers often send worksheets and videos. I have managed to recharge the phone but around 50 percent students do not have internet connectivity. If there is a WiFi hotspot in the area, parents can go to the spot and download the necessary study material.”
Udit Prakash Rai, Director (Education), said they were planning to roll out classes on television. “We are doing our bit to ensure that students do not miss out on classes. We have informed schools to send worksheets and not long videos so that data usage is minimised. We are also in the process of rolling out classes on cable TV, which has a high penetration,” he said.
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