Dozens of students in Indonesia’s Gunung Kidul regency of Yogyakarta have to climb up the highest hill to participate in the home-based online learning due to the poor internet connection in the area.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, home learning has been a part of the education system in Indonesia where students can continue their study from home through online learning, video calls, as well as national TV programmes.
This new way of learning will not be a problem for those living in areas where everything is easily accessible.
It has, however, posed challenges to those living in areas with poor mobile phone reception, as many Indonesians rely on mobile internet.
One of the areas affected by this issue is the Gunung Kidul regency in south Yogyakarta. This regency is known for its mountainous geographical landscape.
A YouTube personality who has visited Gunung Kidul area several times, confirmed the poor internet connection in the area.
“The signal is really bad in Gunung Kidul Regency. Sometimes there is no signal at all, especially in a remote area, near the beach or mountains,” said the owner of popular YouTube channel Story of Pinkan.
“The residents there even climb a coconut tree to find a signal,” she noted.
Dozens of students in the area have to walk along a narrow path until they find a spot with good internet connection to continue studying. The best spot to do it is usually on the hilltop.
“Students must go to the highest hill to get a signal,” said the Head of Petir Village, Sarju, in a phone call with Kompas on Tuesday (5 May).
Mr Sarju added that not all telecommunications providers have coverage in his village.
Karst hill surrounding the Petir Village area is believed to be one of the reasons for bad reception.
In the nearby area, Petir B Village, the mobile phone reception is much worse — to the extent that reporters had difficulties to contact the village head, Warisna, through telephone or text message.
The bad reception has caused 21 students in Petir B Village, ranging from primary school to high school, to have to climb Mount Temulawak every time they receive an assignment from their teacher.
“Children have no choice but to walk up to Mount Temulawak, which is quite high and is located in the southern part of the village,” said Mr Warisna.
One of such students is his daughter, Alodia Daffa Sinanta, a middle-high school student.
She has to walk 20 minutes down the mountain from the place before getting reception.
“Yes, it is tiring because we have to carry lots of books while going up and down the mountain. Not to mention, we are fasting now,” said Alodia.
Alodia added, however, that she understands that home-based online learning is one of the crucial ways to combat further spread of COVID-19 in Indonesia.