Video Editor: Mohd Ibrahim
Ever since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic forced the nation to go under a complete lockdown, Shanti’s (name changed) six-year-old daughter has been repeatedly posing a rather difficult question.
Unable to go to school, in Delhi’s Uttam Nagar, the 2nd grade student has been asking her mother why “she is unable to study online, like other children.”
With no laptop or smartphone at home to access online lessons, Shanti – who admitted her daughter to a private school under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) scheme – has run out of possible explanations.
“What do I even tell her? I have to explain to her that we don't have any device (smartphone or laptop),” said Shanti, in a melancholic tone over the telephone.
On some days, Shanti sends her daughter to the neighbor’s house and borrows their laptop to watch online lessons. But she’s also aware that this can’t be a regular thing.
“Online classes have started and my daughter goes to the neighbour’s (house) to access these classes. We can go to our neighbour’s for one day, or two days, but after that, they can also say no. And it doesn’t feel good to send my daughter to their house again and again.”Shanti
To make things worse, the factory her husband works at, has been shut since lockdown was announced and there is no clarity if he will get paid for the time spent at home.
Manish (name changed), who runs a vegetable stall in Delhi’s Dwarka, is not sure if he will be able to recharge his data pack, set to expire in the month of April. But it’s not like his ongoing data pack has been allowing his daughter, now in kindergarten, to access all videos on the private school’s website.
“Because of the lockdown, I am unable to recharge my phone data, as shops are shut. On the school’s website, we are only able to watch a few videos and have to skip other videos. Our daughter’s education is suffering. I haven’t been able to open the stall. Obviously, money matters a lot.”Manish
With the lockdown in place, Manish has not been able to keep his vegetable stall open for most of the time and is relying on money earned in March.
Similarly, Ritu (name changed), a resident of Paschim Vihar and mother of an EWS student in the 1st grade, says that at a time when her family is finding it difficult to procure food, it is impossible to buy a phone or a laptop.