'I Met Students in Himachal Who Walk up to 3 Km to Download School Work'

Children in Himachal Pradesh's Kotga village are struggling for education because of no internet connectivity.

My Report
2 min read

Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor:
Sandeep Suman

It's been over 15 months since the first COVID-19 lockdown was imposed in March 2020, children at Kotga village in Himachal Pradesh's Sirmaur are still struggling to get online education. Mobile connectivity and access to internet continues to be a major challenge for them.

The village, which is seven to eight hours away from Shimla, is situated at the height of approximately 1,800 meters from sea level. Forget 3G or 4G, this village lacks basic network connectivity. This has raised concerns, as students are not able to study online during this tough time.

Children have to travel two to three km out of the village in search of a mobile network.

“We don’t receive mobile network signal at our homes to study, so we come here (out of the village) to download the study material and take back home.”
Nikunj Sharma, Student, Class III

Even the parents of these students struggle for the same.

“Not just kids, even their parents have to face a lot of problems because of the mobile network. After somehow managing household work, without resting as much, we have to go out in search of network for our kids so that they can study. We are unable to get their work done completely. Many a times, in the rain, we are unable to get our child’s school tasks done for a couple of days.”
Mithilesh Kumari, Resident, Kotga

The situation has come to a point where the families who can afford to migrate are shifting to nearby cities and towns at lower altitude that have mobile connectivity.

However, the families who can not afford to shift are left with no option but to continue their struggle for mobile network in their strive to provide education for their children.

Rameshwar Sharma, who cannot even afford a mobile for his daughter Saroj Shamra, sends her to Sataun, a village situated at lower altitude in Sirmaur district, to study with her friend.

“We don’t have a phone. Where will they study online? We are poor people. Can’t afford it and we don’t even have a network here. She has a friend in Sataun. She studies with her phone. They are in the same class. They divide the resources.”
Rameshwar Sharma, Resident, Kotga

Since there is absolutely no network in the village, villagers get helpless in times of medical emergencies.

“If anyone falls ill and they have to be taken to the hospital, then we have to go 3-4 km away from the village, and then we can make a call to any cab driver and wait for the cab to come.”
Satpal Sharma, Resident, Kotga

Residents demand that a mobile network tower be installed in the area so that problems due to mobile network connectivity can be resolved.

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Topics:  Internet Connection 

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