News Feature

Online schooling for offline Hasya

Online schooling for offline Hasya

Hasya Mardati (7) could attend her first day of classes as a first-grade student thanks to a neighbor’s generosity. (ANTARA/Sri Haryati)

Banjarmasin, S Kalimantan (ANTARA) - Hasya Mardati (7) walked across the street to her neighbor's house to start the class. A smile hovered on her lips as she clutched a new school bag.

"I am ready," she said ecstatically as she arrived at the house early on Monday (July 20, 2020).

It was her first day of online classes as a first grade student of the state-run elementary school SDN Kuin Utara 4 in Banjarmasin, the capital of South Kalimantan province.

As the Banjarmasin City administration is yet to open schools for face-to-face learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students in the city are learning from home under the online guidance of teachers.

For many students, this is not a big problem. They are enjoying the school-from-home system that has been implemented since the last semester due to the pandemic.

But, the situation is different for Hasya. Her parents do not own a smartphone or have access to the Internet. They are an offline family.

Her mother, Maslikatin, cannot afford a smartphone. "I only have money to buy her uniform. (A) Celullar phone like that would be too expensive for me," she said, a few days before the start of classes.

Maslikatin works as a domestic worker, while her husband, Cipto, is a scavenger. With their income only enough to meet daily needs, it is almost impossible for them to purchase a smartphone.

"We need a cell phone that can be used as a camera as well. Mine can only be used for calling and text messaging," Maslikatin said.

“This (not being able to purchase a smartphone) made me mad. I got angry at everyone at home, at Hasya, her sister, my husband. I was so upset. I could not stop thinking about this matter," she added.

She said she snapped at her children and her husband for minor mistakes for days. She could not focus on her job as the time for Hasya's online classes approached.

Fortunately, Maslikatin's employer came forward, offering her cellphone and Internet line to Hasya so she could attend classes and do her homework.

Meanwhile, Hasya's teachers decided to use the Whatsapp application to share learning materials and homework instead of online face-to-face learning through Zoom or Google Classroom platforms, which could create another headache for Maslikatin.

Schools in Banjarmasin city have remained shut as it is still considered a red zone for COVID-19. As of Sunday (July 19, 2020), the city has recorded a total of 1,956 cases with 136 deaths. The case fatality rate in the city stands at 4.9 percent.

Banjarmasin Mayor H Ibnu Sina has decided to reopen schools only on January 4, 2021, although the 2020-2021 academic year has started from July 13, 2020.

Hasya may not be the only student facing a problem with schooling from home. Many other students, especially those from poor families, share the same concerns.

In anticipation of this situation, a junior high school in the city, SMPN 34, is offering students who do not have smartphones and Internet access the use of its multimedia room.

"We have invited parents to discuss the implementation of this learning from home," SMPN 34 Banjarmasin principal Ros Fitriani Normala was quoted by local media as saying.

The school is also using Whatsapp for the distance learning process.

As for Hasya, the first day of school was extraordinary and one for which she had waited for weeks. Although she could not show off her new bag and shoes to her new friends, Hasya enjoyed doing her homework.

"It's so easy, It's fun. I like schooling," she said.  


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