An Ecuadorean teenager has set up an improvised school under a tree in a poor neighbourhood of northern Guayaquil for some 40 students who haven’t been able to study during the novel coronavirus lockdown for the lack of internet access.
Almost nobody in the Reality of God neighbourhood has a computer or a cellphone with a data plan, leaving children unable to participate in the online education that has replaced regular schooling under the coronavirus health emergency.
Denisse Toala, 16, meets with kids and uses her cellphone to check school websites to see what homework has been assigned, which they would be unable to do on their own.
“Covid-19 has caused difficulties on the economic front, but especially in education,” said Toala, who is her final years of high school. “They deserve an education.”
Under the tree where they meet, she has set up a blackboard, educational posters and a welcome sign that reads: “Learn to teach.”
UNICEF Ecuador in May said only 37% of the country’s households have internet access. As a result, it said, “6 out of 10 children cannot continue their studies on digital platforms.”
The report said the situation is more serious in rural areas, where only 16% of households have internet access.