Scaling roofs to take online classes

Since the pandemic forced him into remote learning, 10-year-old Jhay Ar Calma has often had to climb on to the corrugated iron roof of his home in a poor area of Manila to get an internet signal.

Up on the roof, he sits on a broken plastic basin and hopes there will be signal strong enough for his government-issued device.

Calma’s mother Jonalyn said, “Sometimes we change the SIM card to a different provider so he doesn’t have to study on the roof, but there’s rarely enough money to spare for that.”

Hopes for a return to classrooms this month were dashed after President Duterte reversed a plan to trial in-person classes in areas at low risk of COVID-19, postponing any reopening indefinitely as the Philippines battles over 490,000 coronavirus infections, the second-highest in Southeast Asia.

The shift to online classes, self-learning modules and television and radio programs has proven extremely challenging in a country of 108 million.


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