Month: July 2020

Online, Offline and COVID-19: The Digital Divide

Online Education

A common enough narrative from Uganda and other countries will revolve around a friend I will call Akoth. Education has been one of the most important things for her and every member of her family has repeated over and over again that it is the only way to get out of poverty. Akoth has put in a lot of commitment in school but has had to balance school work and the never ending house chores.

However, with the COVID-19, this has been overwhelming – she has had to adjust to homestead chores – cleaning, cooking for an extended family, washing clothes, fetching water, etc. But the most challenging fact in this pandemic is that now she is unable to access the Internet for her online learning. At the end of the day, Akoth’s intelligence and commitment to education will be measured alongside those who have access to the Internet – those who have continued to access online resources during the lockdown. Her story is the reality of many girls in rural Uganda. In some policy discussion groups, the question “What can we do?” is followed by another question… now or after the pandemic?

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