Rural students have always had it tough with online classes, given poor connectivity. The onset of monsoon has made it worse.
Amidst heavy rains, many students are struggling to attend online classes, particularly in Malnad area, where the southwest monsoon has been very active this week
With poor network connectivity, students have to scout for suitable places to attend classes. In some cases, parents hold an umbrella as long as their children are attending online classes. A few students have put up tents at vantage points where they get net access.
H.S. Savan of Harobalige, a second-semester student of B.Com. at Tunga College in Thirthahalli, has put up a tent with his friends to attend classes, about 800 metres away from his residence.
“During the summer, it was no problem to sit under a tree and attend class since we don't get access in my house. Now monsoon has begun. We have put up a tent-like structure using plastic sheets and wooden poles under the tree,” he said.
He is accompanied by SSLC students Trishul, Prathishth and Sathvik. They all leave home at 9 a.m. after breakfast to attend online classes under their temporary shelter. The students return home by afternoon. “It is difficult to listen to classes amidst continuous heavy rains. But, there is no other way,” he said.
Hundreds of students face this problem in areas receiving heavy rains. A photo showing a girl from Sullia taluk attending online class amidst heavy rains while her father is holding an umbrella has gone viral on social media platforms. SSLC students, who have to appear for exams in July, have to attend revision classes as the Karnataka government has changed the pattern of the question papers for this year.
Nempe Devaraj, a social activist and journalist at Thirthahalli, said hundreds of students had been studying in temporary sheds away from their houses, in the heavy rains. The Karnataka government and telecom service providers should address this problem, he said.
‘Could not participate in interview’
Vinayaka Prabhu, a resident of Varamballi in Hosanagar taluk, has been fighting for better network connectivity for the last four years. “Many people, who had returned to the village after the lockdown was announced, worked sitting under trees. But now due to rains, they have shifted to a rented building at Sonale village,” he said.
He had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017 seeking improvement of internet connectivity in his village. He did receive a reply from the PM’s office, but there was no improvement in connectivity. “BSNL and the DC of Shivamogga responded to my petition. However, they could not provide a better service. I could not attend a job interview last week due to network glitches. If the services are improved in Varamballi, at least 1,300 people will benefit,” he added.