There is a swift transformation to digital services during the Covid-19 pandemic. Considering that the telecom industry, rights groups as well as students have demanded access to affordable and quality internet for all.
In the last 5 days, students from tribal areas and Balochistan have raised their concern over lack of access to internet during the Covid-19 pandemic under several Twitter trends like #Enable3G4GInExFATA and #SuspendOnlineClasses. A lot of faculty members and students of different institutions have also registered complaints on the PM’s portal considering online teaching system’s quality of instruction, digital readiness of the instructor and poor internet connectivity in their respective areas.
Students and Rights Groups urged the Government for access to affordable and quality Internet amid Coronavirus
Fahad Ahmad, a student of UMT Lahore with multiple distinctions, told Dawn, “Almost 50+ students of the University of Management and Technology (UMT) in Lahore are from Chitral and all of them are facing internet issue. Most of us have not attended a single online class because there are no mobile signals in the area,”
He further added that the students have to travel 2 to 3 hours on a daily basis just to attend a lecture. They are spending Rs. 500/- or more just for fuel of their vehicle.
Students shared various video clips to show how they were taking online classes while sitting in an open space or a roadside to gather strong mobile signals.
In some regions, the problem is not limited to access but also the affordability of the internet. Sheeraz, a student of Dow University told that in university, because of the availability of free internet and computers, it is easy for him to complete his assignments. An internet package of Rs6 /day with 500MBs for social media and 50MBs of data for browsing was only that he could afford. But that is not enough to attend online lectures.
The Ministry of Information must take serious action about the issue as a lack of internet access is making it tough for students and Rights groups.