By Mukunda Gaire, Kathmandu, Sept. 21: The government has initiated discussions to ensure internet and data package services at a cheaper price for students as online classes have been affected owing to high cost of internet.
The government has decided to recognize virtual learning after the educational institutions including schools were closed due to the nearly four-month long nationwide lockdown, intermittent prohibitory orders at local levels despite relaxation of restrictions and uncertainty of school opening time due to ongoing threat of spread of COVID-19.
With the closure of schools and universities, students have no option but to continue their learning activity through classes provided online, radio and television.
Dipak Sharma, spokesperson of Education, Science and Technology Ministry, said that discussions were going on with the concerned stakeholders on ways for providing internet and data package to students and schools at a lower price or free of charge for facilitating learning activity.
He said the Ministry was holding talks with Nepal Telecom and Telecommunication Corporation.
The Ministry believes such a facility will provide a good support to many students.
Meanwhile, Kathmandu Metropolitan City has informed that it has also started discussion with stakeholder to expand free WIFI services targeting the students within the KMC.
Ishwar Man Dangol, KMC spokesperson, said KMC had been providing free WIFI in 43 locations including 32 Ward offices and public places such as Hanuman Dhoka, Balaju, Pashupati area and Ratna Park.
The government has already issued 'Student learning activity facilitation directive 2077' to recognize alternative learning activity in the ongoing academic year.
Tika Ram Puri, Chair of Private and Boarding School Organisaiton Nepal (PABSON), said the PABSON had already made agreement with Nepal Telecom and Ncell with regard to data package at a cheaper rate.
Puri said out of 7.2 million students across the country, about a million students had taken or enrolled for online classes till mid-September.
He pointed at the need to increase the number of students taking online classes in the days to come although students who had no access to internet were continuing their learning activity by means of radio and television.
Puri said that the PABSON had demanded with the government to ensure availability of laptop, mobile and computers and related accessories at a lower price for students by tax evasion so as to make it easy for smooth operation teaching learning activity.