Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology has announced that it will provide free internet to students from Ashoj, 2077. Ministry has also started making necessary arrangements for free internet to students and schools to facilitate e-learning/online classes.
Since the COVID-19 situation has made e-learning a mandatory obligation to everyone, it has made receiving alternative education and joining classes difficult for a lot of students. This is because not everyone can afford the internet in every part of the country. So, to ease the situation, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced to provide free internet to the students for the operation of the academic session.
It is provisioned in the “Student Learning Facilitation Guideline” that was passed on 19 Bhadra by the ministerial decision. This also includes free downloads of educational material from the Ministry sites (like Shikayi Chautari, Curriculum center, DoE) and provide free internet to the students to assist the e-learning process.
Moreover, the guideline also clearly mentions the role of the Ministry to provide free or subsidized data packages to schools and students. The data package would be from Nepal Telecom and other internet service providers for educational purposes only.
How the Government plans to provide free internet for students?
As known, the Ministry of Education has instructed the federal, state, and local level bodies and stakeholders for the mandatory implementation of this directive from Ashoj 1, 2077.
The information on the implementation of the directive issued by the Ministry states that the government at all three levels should implement the directive in order to achieve an alternative way of learning in this COVID-19 pandemic. These e-learning achievements are specified in the National Curriculum Draft to create a favorable environment for students to learn online.
As per some people, the cost of the internet is very expensive to bear for a lot of families.
However, we can also not underestimate the fact that there might be a difference between the government’s statement and the actual implementation of the same directive. So, it will be subjective to see if the government will actually provide free internet to students from the month of Ashoj.
Although the ministry has decided to provide the internet for free this concept seems rather questionable and its implementation is doubtful as it is not feasible, sustainable for free internet to all students. It will be free internet for all people as there will be one student in each house. Ministry might however provide internet at a subsidized rate with collaboration with Telecom operators, and ISPs. The government can also waive some of the taxes to these service providers in place of affordable or free internet.
Update(September 25, 2020): In regard to this free or subsidized internet to School students, Nepal Telecom has brought this Pathshala CUG SIM with an affordable monthly plan for learning data and unlimited calls.
Moreover, telecom operators like Ntc, Ncell have already launched e-learning packs for students which comes at a cost. Some students still do not find such discounted packages any affordable.
The internet is not the only way to provide education for all the people as there are remote places where there is no internet or reliable connection. So, the government has also planned other ways (like offline from books, notes, pen drive, and broadcasting in TV, FM radio) to look after the underprivileged people who have never had access to the internet in their life.