Headline, September 22 2020/ ''' INDONESIA ''REMOTE'' LEARNING ''' : STUDENTS




MORE THAN A THIRD of Indonesian students have limited or no Internet access, according to the Education Ministry, and experts fear  many students will fall far behind, especially in remote areas where online study remains a novelty.

AROUND THE GLOBE - INCLUDING IN SOME of the world's wealthiest countries, educator's are struggling with how to best make distance learning viable during the pandemic.

But in most of the developing world - like Indonesia, the challenge is particularly very, very difficult.

On school days, the three teenage students hop on a motorbike and ride to their personal study hall : a spot along a narrow road outside the Indonesian village of Kenalan where they can get a stable signal.

Sitting on the shoulder of the road, they do their lessons on smartphones and a single laptop as cars and motorbikes zip by. The three students - two sisters and their 15-year-old aunt - have done studying this way on the island of Java since March, when Indonesia closed its schools and universities to contain the coronavirus.

''When the school ordered us to study at home, I was confused because we don't have a signal at home,'' said one of the girls, Siri Putri Salsabila, 13.

The travails of these students and others like them, have come to symbolize the hardships faced by millions of  schoolchildren across the Indonesian archipelago. Officials have shuttered schools and implemented remote learning, but Internet and cellphone service is limited and many students lack smartphones and computers.

In North Sumatra, students climb to the tops of tall trees a mile from their mountain village. Perched on branches high above the ground, they hope for a cell signal strong enough to  complete their assignments.

The minister of education, Nadiem Makarim, who founded the tech company Go-Jek, before entering politics, has wrestled with how to balance students health and education. Closing schools can set them back academically and lead to loneliness and depression.

Today about 13 million people across 12,500 remote villages have no access to the Internet, said Setyanto Hantoro, president director of Telkomsel, the country's largest telecommunications company, which is cooperating with the government to provide service in far flung areas.

After the girls/students difficulties received attention from the local news media, cell service was installed in the village community center. But the signal was weak and they returned to their spot on the roadside, said Teara, a student at Muhammadiyah University at Magelang.

With the start of the new academic year in July. schools in virus-free zones were allowed to reopen, but these schools serve only a fraction of the nation's students. As of August, communities in low risk areas could decide whether to reopen schools, but few have done so.

Most students study online using cellphones, often buying packages that provide small amount of data. Some families have only one phone that is shared among several children, who often must wait for their parents to come home so they download their assignments.

Teaching online is new for many teachers, especially in rural areas. Students are often confused by the lessons, and parents, - who may have only an elementary school education themselves - can be unprepared for home tutoring.

STUDENT Hilarius Dwi Ari Setiawan, 11, a Kenalan sixth-grader. did not own a device, so his father, Noor Cahya Dwiwandaru, a farmer, took out a loan to buy a phone.

If Mr. Cahya stands in the right spot in the kitchen and holds the phone high, he can get a weak signal. To download Hilarius's lessons, he stops work and rides his motorbike to the nearby village, where the signal is better.

''The children get stressed with this situation,'' said Vincentia Orisa Ratih Prastiwi, Liarius's teacher. ''Their parents get angry. Their younger siblings disturb them. The teacher's video explanation is not clear.''

One morning a week, Ms. Ratih, 27, meets Hilarius and their classmates for in-person lessons at one of their homes. She sympathizes with their difficulties.

''Its hard to demand help from the government because everyone faces this pandemic,'' she said. ''But if possible, the signal problem here should be fixed.''

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Education and Remote Learning, continues. The World Students Society thanks authors Richard C. Paddock, Dera Menra Sijabat and Ulet Ifansasti.

With respectful dedication to the Great People of Indonesia, Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers, and then the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011:

''' Learning & Lamppost '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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