The above picture of students climbing a 60-foot water tank in order to access phone signal to engage in school classes highlights the difficulties that students across the country have faced over the past 9 months in engaging in distance education. As the year nears its end and plans for 2021 come underway, policy makers, government officials, educators and other relevant stakeholders need to consider the most viable, effective education-related solutions to ensure that no child is left behind.
Although internet access is frequently hailed as the way forward (and it no doubt is an increasingly essential component of effective distance education) nation-wide internet coverage is not a solution that we can expect to be successfully implemented for the start of the new year.
With access to TVs and mobile phones (whether with internet connectivity or not) widespread across the country, perhaps focusing our attention on the ways in which we could harness this existent infrastructure would be more productive. As we wait for the Google Loon, children continue to fall behind. It’s time we make plans to invest in, and develop, existing infrastructure to ensure that 2021 begins unlike 2020 ended.