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Jakarta Post

No internet, electricity force residents of East Manggarai to study old-fashioned way during school closures

  • Markus Makur

    The Jakarta Post

East Manggarai   /   Sun, March 22, 2020   /   09:00 am
No internet, electricity force residents of East Manggarai to study old-fashioned way during school closures Vocational High School 1 students in East Manggarai regency, East Nusa Tenggara province, gather at the school on March 16. (JP/Markus Makur)

Students in the inland areas of East Manggarai regency in East Nusa Tenggara have to study using books, paper and pens while their schools are closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic since they have no electricity, internet or computers.

Among them are Andreas Mariano Makur and Yohanes Jubilian Dahu Ndolu, two students from Waelengga Catholic Elementary School. They have been working on their school assignments the old-fashioned way since Saturday.

The Maumere Education Agency dismissed classroom teaching on Friday following the instructions for a two-week school closure by the East Nusa Tenggara administration.

“My sibling and I have to study at home. I’m doing math, while my sibling learns how to read. Both of us are studying 'manually' without computer and internet,” he told The Jakarta Post on Saturday. 

Waelengga Catholic Elementary School Principal, Adrianus Panu said that the school assignments were given manually by the teachers to the students. Every morning, the teachers delivers the school assignments directly to hundreds if students.

“The 14-day at-home learning policy has given us a huge challenge. We teachers also have to prepare the learning materials at home for our 290 students,” Adrianus said. 

Separately, a teacher of Mok Catholic Elementary School in Komba district, Ursula Manggung, said she has been preparing study materials for her students in Mok and Nunur villages for the duration. With the help of her husband she too has to deliver the assignments directly to her students’ houses while also monitoring their learning progress.

East Manggarai Cultural and Education Agency head Basilius Teto said the agency instructed schools to send their students home to follow a policy set by the central government to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

He acknowledged the policy faced hindrances in the inland areas as some villages did not have access to electricity, let alone internet access, forcing the students and teachers to carry out the home learning the old-fashioned way.

“Except for the ones who live in the city, most of the students are unable to do online study since they have no access to an internet network. Many of them don’t know how to operate computers and the internet either,” he said.

Meanwhile, the coordinator of the national exam proctors for high schools in East Manggarai, Lukas Samba, said that the national exams for high school and vocational school students have been postponed from its original schedule on March 30. (dpk)