New Delhi (NVI): Students in Gilgit Baltistan have to walk for miles, just to receive stable internet signals to be part of online classes, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Suffering due to the poor quality or slow internet services, these students are now protesting over the issue affecting their studies.
Just imagine if a student has to hike up to the mountain tops just to get some internet connectivity so that he/she can attend online classes! Unfortunately, this has become a reality for some students in the region.
— Yawar Abbas #Internet4GilgitBaltistan (@YawarOfficial) July 7, 2020
Students in Pakistan have also been raising their voices against the feeble internet connectivity in the region on Twitter with the hashtag “Internet4Gilgitbaltistan”.
Many students have started a sort of online campaign on Twitter with the hashtag to force authorities to provide them with stable internet.
“Poor and lack of internet service in #GilgitBaltistan has made students suffer in the period of #COVID19. Due to the pandemic, universities in all over Pakistan are closed and students have moved to their hometowns,” tweets Yawar Abbas, a youth activist from Gilgit Baltistan, with a video of students in the region, narrating their ordeal.
— Yawar Abbas #Internet4GilgitBaltistan (@YawarOfficial) July 6, 2020
To avoid bad scores or poor attendance in online classes, students are also asking the universities and schools to be given semester break to the internet situation is sorted out in the region. They have also contacted the administration to get a break as an alternative to the low quality of education through online means.
Apart from that, many students in the region have also pointed out the low quality of education through online means.
I had to come back to Islamabad from Hunza amidst the Corona situation and extreme heat because I couldn’t work from home, all thanks to SCOM’s fraudulent 4G services. We demand #internet4GilgitBaltistan, functional internet.
— Thatbrowngilgiti (@Thatbrowngilgi1) July 6, 2020
Pakistan-based Digital Rights Foundation has also taken cognizance of the matter, tweeting: “Students across Pakistan have been protesting against the shift to online classrooms rightly pointing out that as students from less urban centers move back home, they either lack access to high-speed internet or no internet at all.”
“Students across Pakistan have been protesting against the shift to online classrooms, rightly pointing out that as students from less urban centers move back home, they either lack access to high-speed internet, or no internet at all.” #OnlineClasses #Internet4GilgitBaltistan
— Digital Rights Foundation (@DigitalRightsPK) July 7, 2020
It is pertinent to mention here that students across the world have been asked to attend online classes and avoid physical presence in colleges, schools and universities as a precautionary measure amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
While the move is appropriate, considering the current pandemic situation, low speed internet or lack of means to attend online classes has increased the burden on students, while triggering anxiety and uncertainty among them.