What does it like to learn during this frightening and overly stressful situation? How does it feel to keep up with studies after months of staying home and complying with COVID-19 restrictions?Those questions convey the thought of many towards the reopening of schools despite the unceasing transmission of the coronavirus. Institutions, schools, colleges and universities are resuming through online classes and remote learning.
Although online schooling and remote learning support social and physical distancing since sessions will be accessible visually or online, the concept may only favour those who are privileged and those who can afford the probable cost. That’s why some students from various developing countries are appealing for the authorities to enforce academic freeze instead.
While the financially capable students may agree with the resumption of classes online, the approach will be an additional burden for the less fortunate, especially that layoffs are rampant due to the pandemic.
If you still don’t understand why many students, particularly in developing countries, are crying for academic freeze, then proceed to the next few pages to find out.
1. Poor internet connection to no internet access at all in remote areas
The issues regarding the slow internet connection aren’t new in developing countries. Various countries coming from Africa and Asia are considering the poor internet connection as one of their primary concerns now that schools are to push online schooling and remote learning through.
Although Asian countries like Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan belong to the lists of countries with the fastest internet speed, many Asian countries are still left behind. The issues about internet speed are much worse in remote areas as there’s mostly no internet access at all.
2. Private tutoring can be an alternative, but not all families can afford it.
Private tutoring is one of the best alternatives a parent can opt for to ensure their child’s continuous learning even during this challenging time of the pandemic. Private tutoring offers a personalised approach to children’s learning process, as well as with skilled mentors, instructors or tutors.
However, private tutoring might not be affordable for many families belonging in developing countries. It’s because private tutoring is commonly expensive.
3. Not every child has access to the needed gadgets or devices to comply with online schooling.
Aside from the issues on the internet speed, and the provision of a good learning alternative like private tutoring, it’s the lack of access to the needed devices that make students from developing countries appeal for the academic freeze.
What’s worse than that is that it’s not only the students who are experiencing the problem concerning the lack of access to the needed devices for online schooling and remote learning in developing countries.
It’s because there are also teachers, instructors, mentors, tutors or professors who also don’t have the necessary gadgets or devices like laptop, computers or a smartphone to facilitate their students through online schooling and remote learning.
4. Financial stability is at stake since the cases of layoffs are increasing.
We can say that the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down ever since its global transmission, right? Schools, institutions, colleges, and universities are the only ones who are badly impacted by the coronavirus.
Many businesses or companies shut down, which makes layoffs and even termination cases increase from time to time this year. Layoffs and termination both threaten the financial stability of the families, especially those that are belonging in developing countries.
5. The immense issue on the digital divide
The last definite reason to enforce the academic freeze, primarily in developing countries is the immense problem of the digital divide. The term digital divide implicates the unequal distribution of access or the lack of access to an internet connection, as well as to information and communication technologies such as the computers, smartphones or mobile phones, laptops, and television.
The bottom line:
It might seem easy to say that the students’ learning won’t be at stake without compromising their financial and mental stability. But in reality, especially in developing countries, there are definite reasons to at least enforce the academic freeze for as long as everything gets back to place.
Kath Ramirez took up journalism as her Bachelor’s Degree with library and information science on the side and now writes for InFlow Education. It’s an Australian-based private tutoring organisation that provides a comprehensive approach to education. After a busy working week, you’ll either see her binge-watching on Netflix, cuddling with her fur babies, bonding with her family or devouring her mom and sisters’ homemade goodies.