In a single day, more than 5,000 students from low-income families in Hidalgo del Parral, Chihuahua, applied to receive free tablets provided by the municipal government in order to facilitate federally mandated distance learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The school year, which started on August 24, has been relegated to online or televised lessons, which makes getting an education complicated for thousands of students across Mexico who can’t afford the necessary equipment to keep up with their studies.
Many rural areas across the country don’t even have access to electricity, let alone an internet connection. Approximately 30% of Parral residents, some 35,000 people, live in extreme poverty, according to the Ministry of Social Development.
“We will not rest until our daughters and sons, who are our pride, have everything they need so that their education is guaranteed,” Mayor Alfredo Lozoya said. “We must make a great effort so that our children do not fall behind in their education. We parralenses will not fight at a disadvantage.”
The day after the municipal government opened the registration process on August 20, 5,483 students had applied, the mayor announced. The application process will close on September 4.
“These are very good quality electronic tablets with a powerful processor so that they can do their homework and follow their classes remotely,” Lozoya said.
The mayor hopes the program will help keep kids in school and has promised to deliver the tablets within 10 days. He also hopes to increase internet capacity in the area as bandwidth is likely to become saturated due to the surge in students accessing course material online.
According to projections, more than 10,000 students are expected to apply for the equipment in the coming days.
Applicants must fill out a registration form via WhatsApp or in person and are evaluated based on economic need.
Source: El Universal (sp)