Teacher hoisting student on his shoulders to go online highlights internet access disparity in eastern Indonesia

Photo: Instagram
Photo: Instagram

Online learning became a necessity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the difficulties of getting stable internet access remain for many in Indonesia even 19 months later, as the widely circulating photos of a teacher carrying a student on his shoulders became the latest to illustrate the struggle. 

A series of photos uploaded on social media, reportedly taken at a primary school in Manggarai regency, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), highlighted the difficulties of getting a mobile internet signal in the remote area.

In one photo, a student can be seen balancing a laptop on top of his teacher’s head while he sits on the educator’s shoulders. In another, the same teacher climbed on wooden beams in the classroom, balancing himself as he lifted the laptop higher for reception.

According to reports, the students were filling in a computer-based national assessment, while the teachers were completing a survey on learning environment at the school, both of which are required by the government. 

Though the tasks in this particular instance aren’t directly related to online learning, they still capture the issue of uneven internet access in the archipelago, where going online is still an ordeal for the less privileged or those living in remote areas. 

On social media, users have been mentioning official handles belonging to the Culture, Education, Research and Technology Minister Nadiem Makarim and the Communications and IT Ministry to bring their attention to the problem.

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