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Humla students suffer from a lack of internet access

Despite the beginning of the new academic year, practically all schools outside of Simkot, the district headquarters, have been unable to hold classes due to a lack of internet access.

The Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology announced the start of the new academic session on June 15 and advised schools to use alternative teaching methods in order to continue with teaching-learning activities.

To begin the new academic year, schools were recommended to employ existing technologies such as radio, television, and the internet, among other things.

However, due to limited internet access, most schools in rural Humla are unable to conduct online classes.

Teachers indicate that despite the start of the new academic term, practically all schools outside of Simkot, the district headquarters, have been unable to hold classes because they lack the resources to implement alternate teaching methods.

“Online classes have begun in certain schools in Simkot, the district headquarters of Humla. But, as Himalaya Khatri, a teacher at Ralid Secondary School in Bargaun, Humla, pointed out, “schools in rural areas are having difficulty operating classes using the alternative medium.”

“Both the mobile and telephone networks are inadequate in this area. In this case, how could we begin online classes? In Tanjakot Rural Municipality, Limi of Namkha Rural Municipality, Nepka of Chankheli Rural Municipality, and several other rural places, monsoon-related calamities have knocked down telephone poles, and there is no phone or internet network.”

The lack of internet access and phone network outages in rural areas have impacted not only local students, but also students studying in cities outside the district.

When academic institutions closed their doors due to the coronavirus outbreak, most students who were seeking education in the metropolis returned to their communities. Those who have returned to their villages have few options but to travel to Simkot to attend online classes held in schools throughout Nepal, including Kathmandu, Nepalgunj, and Surkhet.

“Our village does not have access to the internet.” Our online sessions have started, and I need to study for my exam,” said Kamal Budha, a Humla student from Kharpunath. “I traveled down to Simkot and leased a room here so that I wouldn’t have to miss any of my classes.”

Budha is a Kathmandu-based engineering student.

Many students from the villages are trying to manage expenses while looking for a decent location to stay in Simkot, according to Hemant Lama, a Simkot local.

“Students who don’t have relatives in Simkot or who can’t find a room to rent haven’t been allowed to participate in online classes,” Lama explained.

Tsering Tamang of Sarkegad is in the 12th grade at a private school in Kathmandu. He has been unable to attend any classes since the beginning of the new academic year due to a lack of internet access at home.

“Because I haven’t been able to attend classes, I am far behind in my assignments. Now I’m working in the fields. I’m not sure how I’ll catch up on everything I’ve missed,” Tamang remarked.

Educators are particularly concerned about the impact of the district’s lack of connectivity on children in rural areas.

“In rural locations, relying on the internet to run the academic session is not an option. “Until educational institutions can physically open their doors, the government should teach classes over radio,” said Kali Bahadur Mahatara, headmaster of Laligurans Secondary School in Simkot.

Source – The Kathmandu Post

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