India’s poor risk falling through the gaps as schools go digital

Students who do not have access to Internet facilities and miss their online lessons, attend an open-air class, after authorities closed all schools in March following the outbreak of Covid-19, in New Delhi, India, July 8. — Reuters

The coronavirus has pushed schools all over the world to go online as new waves of infections keep emerging. In India, a country where the gaps in access to education and the Internet were already vast, poor families are struggling to stay the course.

Shirin Riyaz Shah, 15, attends a small private school in Mumbai. There’s one smart-phone between her and her four siblings over which they sit through Zoom lessons and submit homework via WhatsApp. Their schedules don’t blend neatly and there’s a constant tussle over the phone.

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