Authorities in Ratanakkiri province recently installed 11 DTV satellite dishes and televisions in the province’s rural areas to help more than 3,000 students access distance learning.
A provincial administration report released on Wednesday said Lumphat, Veun Sai, Bakeo, Andong Meas, Taveng and O’Yadaw districts received the devices, which were installed at community schools.
Provincial Department of Education, Youth and Sport director Khat Samal said the DTV dishes will help enable 3,104 students to participate in distance learning via television and 41 more devices will be installed in other rural areas in the province in the future.
Samal said the donations provided a good opportunity for students to engage in distance learning developed by the Ministry of Education via digital devices.
There are a total of 222 schools in Ratanakkiri with 40,930 students, he said.
He said 9,787 parents of students have smartphones, while 8,998 have Facebook accounts and 245 have Telegram or WhatsApp applications.
Ministry of Education spokesperson Ros Soveacha said the ministry thanked Ratanakkiri authorities for their effort.
Soveacha did not say if other provinces will follow Ratanakkiri’s lead.
In April, the ministry issued a directive to supply students with distance learning via cable TV, DTV channels, Apsara TV, Wiki TV, One TV, and the ministry’s YouTube and Facebook page.
But on April 29, The Post reported that some two million students in rural areas cannot access the government’s E-Learning and Distance Learning programmes.
This is because the students either do not have smartphones [for E-Learning] or their households have not installed satellite dishes [for Distance Learning] that allow them to receive such broadcasts.
When attempting to substantiate this, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport spokesman Ros Soveacha declined to confirm or deny the figure.
Instead, he said the ministry does not have any plan as yet to help students in rural areas to gain access to its learning programmes via smartphones or television.
“The ministry encourages students who cannot study through smartphones and television to learn with those who have such equipment.
“This means for families that do not have televisions yet, the ministry encourages them to follow the educational programmes at their neighbour’s houses with less than 10 people and practice hygiene measures in line with advice from the Ministry of Health,” he said.
It is believed that the Ratanakkiri authority’s installation of DTV satellite dishes and televisions in the province serves to address this problem raised by The Post.