DEHRADUN: A survey of four districts of Uttarakhand by a non-government organization revealed that 82% of students do not have smartphones or other gadgets to attend online classes.
The survey was carried out in 300 gram panchayats of Nainital, Almora, Bageshwar and Pithoragarh districts.
Kamla Bhatt, coordinator of the group which conducted the survey said, "Most students don't have mobiles, laptops, tablets and network to attend the online classes. We have sent our findings to honourable education minister of the state. We hope he will take the necessary steps to resolve this issue."
The lack of gadgets and internet connection in remote areas of the hills have left the students hanging in limbo, says the survey report.
The results of the survey pointed out that 50.20% of students do not have smartphones and 31.50% have issues related to bad or no network at all.
Commenting on the issue, Arvind Pandey, state education minister said, "We have dedicated all our resources to help children of the state. I will look into the matter personally."
It is not only school students who are facing the challenge related to online classes. With the education system going online amidst lockdown, students of Uttarakhand are taking arduous journeys of up to 70-kms to get internet access to attend classes or submit assignments.
The hardship plagues more than 60,000 students out of around 1.32 lakh students enrolled in 105-degree colleges of Uttarakhand.
In May, Uttarakhand High Court had directed that students who do not have access to the online course, cannot be asked to pay the tuition fee. The directions of the court came while hearing public interest litigation filed by Japinder Singh, a social worker from Dehradun.
Singh, in his PIL, alleged that most of the affiliated schools by the boards are charging heavy fees from
students/their parents in the name of modern online classes, during the lockdown period.