Poor connectivity in villages of South Panaji
A group of 25
college students from villages nearly 100km south of Panaji have been regularly
trekking 3km to reach the Kumari hilltop inside Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary to
get a secure signal for their mobile phones and attend online classes.
Most schools and colleges have been closed for the past seven months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Teaching and learning have shifted to a virtual world with the use of e-resources, mobile applications and electronic devices.
An eagerness to learn motivated boys and girls from Kumari and Patre villages in Sanguem taluka to overlook the hazards of the daily trek.
“We come here by 8.10am and return home by 1pm after our classes get over,” said Neelima Ekdo, a student of engineering at Verna village, about 40km from Panaji. “When it rains, we have to sit with umbrellas to save ourselves from getting drenched. When it rains, there is no range and we have to wait for showers to stop to resume our classes.”
The students attend their online classes sitting on rocks on the barren plateau on the hill inside the wildlife sanctuary with no shelter overhead.
“We often come across snakes on the plateau. We have seen several snakes crawling on the plateau. But we have no other option but to come here as we can’t miss our online classes,” Pravita Gaonkar, who studies at the government college in Quepem, said:
The area has
mobile towers of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), but villagers allege internet
connectivity is dismal.
A senior official of the district administration said the matter of unsecure internet connections and the continuous hardships faced by students has been discussed at review meetings held in the district collectorate and efforts are being made to guarantee that all mobile towers in the area are fully functional.
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