The students of Class X of Loyola High School, Nagaon, Assam are at a critical juncture in their educational journey. They will soon be taking their first State Board examination, namely the High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) examination. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 lockdown has occurred just at this critical moment, putting their study and preparations at high risk. The school has rapidly migrated to virtual classrooms in order to provide uninterruptedly virtual classes. However, the success of this endeavour requires that all the Class X students have access to laptops or smart phones with internet access. Being a small city, the cable/wired internet infrastructure is very weak in Nagaon. Where available, it is expensive. Consequently, the students depend on mobile phone internet access. Unfortunately, 32 of the 54 students in the class cannot afford to have their own mobile phones. Therefore, they borrow their parents´ phones. A serious downside of this strategy is that when the parents are away attending to work or other obligations, those students are not able to attend the virtual classes. Even when such a borrowed phone is available, their participation is disturbed by incoming calls and messages from relatives and colleagues of their parents.
The above situation has made it very difficult for the under privileged 32 students to complete their class requirements and keep up with their studies at this critical juncture. Moreover, the situation has created an undesirable and discriminatory digital divide between the privileged and under privileged student, irrespective of their educational merit.
In light of the above, the proposal is to provide smart phones of minimum specifications to the above-referred 32 students as soon as possible before it is too late for them to prepare adequately for the upcoming HSLC examination.