Almost a third of the villages in Romania (31%) have areas with a weak, very weak and/ or non-existent Internet signal, according to a study conducted by the World Vision Romania Foundation, according to AGERPRES.
"During this period, more and more localities are moving into scenarios that involve taking online courses, but online schooling is still a utopia for rural students in Romania," write the researchers.
According to the study, 40% of rural children did not attend online school in the first period of the pandemic, and the explanations are multiple: in addition to the impossibility for rural families with low incomes to provide a device for all children, for village pupils also face the challenge of a good Internet connection.
Also, over 61% of the 87 communes in six counties in which World Vision Romania operates (Iasi, Vaslui, Dolj, Ialomita, Valcea and Cluj) are made up of villages with areas with a weak or nonexistent signal. Thus, out of the total of 313 villages where the organization runs projects and supports children from vulnerable backgrounds, over 31% have areas with a weak, very weak and/or non-existent signal.
However, the organization's representatives maintain that the Internet is not completely lacking in rural areas.
"In almost all villages and communes there are areas with very good telephone and internet signal, generally around public institutions: the town hall, the school. But, the farther you go from these, the weaker the signal is," the quoted source said.
From March until now, World Vision Romania has donated over 4,000 tablets with SIM cards for the Internet for children in villages, conducted webinars for teachers to improve digital skills, conducted online tutoring with children, but also psychological counseling with children and adults in the projects. The foundation has launched a fundraising campaign for schools, pupils and teachers in rural areas.