Students in Shingal are deprived of online education due to poor internet services.
Most students in Shingal have been able to attend only a few online classes for the 2020-2021 school year. Some have postponed the school year altogether.
Kurdish schools in Shingal are under the administration of the Kurdistan Regional Government, which has ordered all classes to be held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s been some time now that I have quit attending online classes altogether, because I got tired of the website of [KRG’s Ministry of] Education. It works for two minutes, then stops for an hour due to slow internet connection,” says 12th grader Amir Rasho.
It’s been some time now that I have quit attending online classes altogether
“I haven’t benefited from online classes at all. If things continue like this, I will not pass this year,” Amir added.
Amir lives in Borik settlement in Shingal district. The internet connection there is very poor, so is the electricity service, as there are regular power cuts. Amir says they have only six to seven hours of electricity feed per day. Many in the region also cannot afford paying for an internet connection.
Amir says that regular classes should be resumed to avoid more time wasting.
Three years after it was cleared of ISIS militants, most of Shingal district still lay in ruins and basic services, for the most part, have not been restored.
Amir, a 12th grader talks to KirkukNow about the issues with online classes
Another 12th grader, Rézan Khudéda, said: “Online education has had a very negative effect. We haven’t benefitted enough from it. It’s been more than two months since we’ve started the new school year, yet we haven’t finished even two chapters of our books, while we are only a few weeks away from the end of the first semester.”
For this school year, Rézan relies more on her self-study instead of online classes. “The internet connection is very poor here. And people don’t have the money to pay for unlimited, fast internet connections.”
The KRG’s Ministry of Education initially made an exception for the 1st, 2nd and 12th graders, but after a second surge in Coronavirus infections, ordered that they too must follow classes online until 1 December.
According to numbers from Shingal’s Education Department, more than 1,200 teachers and students have contracted the COVID-19 virus during regular classes of the 1st, 2nd and 12th graders.
Kamal Hasan, director of Serkeftin school in Shingal, says that out of their 250 students, only 10% follow the online classes.
KRG’s Ministry of Education has given each student their own username and password to log in on the ministry’s website made for the online classes.
Kamal Hasan says that the teachers also have trouble with the online classes.
There are 32,600 students in Shingal who attend Kurdish schools, with 12,000 teachers.
Shahab Ahmad Yunis, deputy director of Shingal Education Department, told KirkukNow: “We have officially requested to abolish online education for Shingal, because it will not be successful at all; a small number of students make use of that system.”
Yunis says that they are planning to reopen the schools in Shingal since the online classes are not successful.
The KRG will be reassessing whether to continue the online classes or reopen the schools by 1 December.
The number of COVID-19 confirmed new infections are still high all over Iraq, reaching a total of over 2,000 cases per day.