Taking online classes becomes uphill task for children in Kerala's Mattupetty
The daily morning task of many children like her living in Mattupetty Estate near Munnar in Idukki district is to roam around with study material to find appropriate place where they would get internet connectivity.
Before COVID-19 hit Kerala, Sumathi, a Class 8 student, was in school during morning hours, but now she starts her day by trying to find a location where her father's mobile phone would show network coverage in order to attend her online classes.
Sumathi is not alone. The daily morning task of many children like her living in Mattupetty Estate near Munnar in Idukki district is to roam around with study material to find appropriate place where they would get internet connectivity.
They often say they have to climb uphill areas, only place where their mobile phones would show range.
"It all started after rains. We are unable to download our study material. The mobile phone doesn't have internet connectivity. We climb all the way here in open air to attend the online class," said Sumathi.
Keerthana, who is in sixth standard, too shared her problem when it comes to the internet connectivity.
"All of us come here in open air to study. If it rains, we won't be able to do this too," said Keerthana.
Locals and students demand immediate action to find a solution for the internet disruption. Only one internet service provider operates in the area adding to their woes.
More than 130 families living in Dobipalam and Kuttiyar areas near Mattupetty High School have been suffering due to non-availability of network.
"We are all working as daily wage labourers in tea plantation here. To spare a mobile phone to our children was a difficult task for us. But now, when we got them mobile phones, there is no network coverage and children have to go to places to find internet coverage," said Murthy, parent of a child, working in a tea estate here.
They also complain that the issue was taken up with authorities, but no action has been taken so far.
This at a time, after COVID-19 pandemic, the entire education system has shifted to online mode, and the state government also has launched a channel to provide classes to students.
Earlier, various political parties including ruling Left Front in Kerala had carried out special drives to buy laptops for students from low income families so that they could pursue studies after classes were shifted online.