With the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Afghanistan, schools have been advised to remain closed until 19th April. Given the scale and spread of transmission of the virus, it is possible that schools shall remain closed beyond April.
According to a landmark resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2010, children have the right to education in all phases of emergency situations. As the government, humanitarian and development partners are looking at ways and means by which education could be continued through alternate means, many organizations working in the educational technology sector have ensured free access to educational content.
While it is known that educational technology cannot act as a substitute for teacher, it has the potential to provide relevant support for children who are engaged in unsupervised learning at home during school closure. This is especially the case when significant and growing number of educational content pieces is available in Dari and Pashto including the ones developed by the Ministry of Education. For students studying in English medium schools, educational technology giants like Byju’s have permitted free access to their complete app as a response to school closures.
Telecom service providers in Afghanistan shall be doing a world of good for students and teachers if they could grant free internet data to access select educational sites. This has been recently done by Etisalat and du in UAE in coordination with the Ministry of Education and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.
According to Etisalat’s website, 816 educational websites are now freely accessible to postpaid and prepaid customers in UAE from where educational content can be downloaded free of charge. The educational websites which are freely accessible was identified in coordination with the Ministry of Education. A similar response here shall not cater to the needs of majority of the students and teachers in Afghanistan. However, with internet penetration of 19.6% (7 million users) and 19 million mobile users, a sizeable number of students and teachers of Afghanistan shall benefit from having free access to digital educational content in this moment of crisis.
View expressed in this article are of the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Pajhwok’s editorial policy.