Students in border, remote areas disabled online education

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Only 57 percent of poor students have Internet access, according to a study on student effects during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Phumsaran Thongliamnak, an expert in educational economics at Equitable Education Fund, said the lack of internet access may be due to financial constraints or living in too remote an area. The situation may therefore be disadvantageous for students living in border areas. 

He said that many countries provide portable Wi-Fi devices to students unable to access the internet or allocated budgets for poor households to apply for internet services, etc. To disseminate long-distance educational information in Thailand, media such as television or smartphones may be another way to reach many children since it is low cost and less complicated. In most countries, students will have access to smartphones, including TVs that must always be in every home. But regardless of the method used in the Covid-19 crisis for teaching and learning, the important thing is to select suitable context and create readiness for both learners and teachers. 

Supachok Piyasanti, consultant to the network of the Education Management Club in the high remote areas, said that students of some schools are tribals, some parents cannot teach or help their children with the homework while online learning is still a problem because only 20 per cent of children are ready. 

He said it was important to get ready for the semester from now and not wait until July. The education department needs to devise a new instructional plan for both children who are studying online and those who learn in traditional ways. 

Nationwide, there are 1,190 high mountain schools and 123 schools on islands. Therefore, relevant agencies should start looking at offline media production as well as there are many areas without electricity or Internet. Policy level executives must establish clarity and decide how to manage the plan following the changing situation, Supachok said.