As challenges of online learning burden students worldwide amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one father in Malaysia decided to build a “classroom” atop a hill for his daughter to make it easier for her to connect to the internet.
Forty-eight-year-old Mohd Azmi Ahmad, who hails from the village of Bukit Petai Tujuh in Kelantan, built the makeshift classroom by assembling a tent on top of a 20-meter-high hill, according to MalayMail on Nov. 29.
His 20-year-old daughter, Nurlieda Khaleeda Mohd Azmi, is currently in her sophomore year as a medical laboratory technology student at the University of Malaya. As per the report, she would travel to town three kilometers away just to access the internet for her classes.
Mohd Azmi decided to put up the makeshift classroom for his daughter after the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) was enforced in Kelantan last Nov. 21, thus putting the state under lockdown. The tent, which is just 30 meters away from their house, has some chairs and a table so Nurlieda can study in her own comfort.
Nurlieda said she studied in the tent almost daily during the movement control order, but only during the day. She is also concerned about her safety and being exposed to venomous snakes and other dangerous animals.
“What worries me most is that I’m currently sitting for examinations from Nov. 23 until Dec. 3,” she was quoted as saying. “I have to switch on my handphone camera to allow the lecturers to monitor me.”
She also said she feels stressed because of the unsteady internet connection in their area, especially with her examinations.
“In fact, the two hours provided were insufficient due to the unstable connection. If the internet disconnects, I have to start over and no additional time is given,” she added.
Meanwhile, Mohd Azmi shared that other younger people in their village have built their own tree houses to have better access to internet connection. For now, he joins his daughter in her makeshift classroom until she caps off her classes or examinations.
“Especially now, as it is raining every day. The tent is uncomfortable, but we have no choice for the sake of her future,” said Mohd Azmi in the report. “This is not a problem only we are facing, but also other students in higher education institutions and schools.”
In the Philippines, students and teachers alike struggled in preparing for the Department of Education’s proposed blended learning for academic year 2020-2021.
Back in June, Efren Cabotage, a teacher in Ilocos Sur’s Narvacan National Central High School, had to climb a mountain just to get a strong signal for his pocket Wi-Fi. There, he enrolled his students who themselves do not have any gadgets or internet.
Meanwhile, “last-mile” schools like Lasala Elementary School in Siargao, Surigao del Norte, were wary about their readiness for the school year. Mariphyl Oliva, principal of the elementary school, said in a report on July 20 that they only received one single laptop from DepEd at the time. She said their five elementary teachers have their own laptops, but these were bought through borrowed money. Cody Cepeda /ra