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Digital divide stands in the way of children’s home residents

They are yet to get sufficient e-learning tools and gadgets to attend online classes

While educational institutions are on the path of transforming students into digital academics, here is a group of residents at two children’s homes in Kozhikode who are yet to have sufficient e-learning tools to feel the change. The continuing digital divide is a painful experience for them, as no one has offered them a helping hand.

At the Children’s Home for Girls, there are 32 students who manage with limited number of gadgets to attend online classes. Many of them are high school and Plus Two students who need individual devices to properly attend virtual classes and interact with teachers. At least 10 smartphones are needed there to help out learners.

According to officials, only two television sets and a laptop are available for girls to attend online sessions. “In the last academic year, the students somehow managed with the available facilities. However, it will not be possible this year thanks to extended teaching hours, individual interactions, and submission of assignments,” they said.

The situation is not different at the Children’s Home for Boys. There are 20 students without access to digital learning tools. Not even a smartphone is available at the institution to facilitate virtual classrooms. In the absence of dedicated gadgets, the students depend on staff members’ mobile phones. Just two television sets and a laptop are available at the institution.

“We need at least five smartphones to assist high school and Plus Two students. It would be great if we got more from sponsors,” said an official at the institution.

Meanwhile, State Commission for Protection of Child Rights member Babitha Balraj, who has taken up the matter with the authorities, has sought immediate steps to help out the students. “We hope sponsors will come forward,” she said.

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