578 children in Albania in urgent need of mobile phones and internet to complete online schooling!

578 children in Albania in urgent need of mobile phones and internet to complete online schooling!

Tirana, 22 April 2020 – At least 578 children in Albania are in danger of losing their schooling year because of lack of a mobile/tablet and an internet connection that would enable them to attend online classroom that is provided for free by the Ministry of Education and its teachers across Albania.

Albania has been in total lockdown for six consecutive weeks and the only way for children to access education has been through online schooling. Yet, many children found themselves without access to online schooling because their parents are poor and cannot afford to buy neither smart phones/tables nor an internet connection.

This is a typical case of those who have and those who don’t – said Altin Hazizaj, Executive Director of CRCA/ECPAT Albania. The order of the Government to close schools and move the process of schooling online, it exposed widely the inequalities in our public education. Further to that the Government failed to understand the magnitude of such inequality.

More than two weeks ago, CRCA/ECPAT Albania made public its concern that at least 80 thousand children did not have access to internet and consequently could not follow up online education. The Government failed to respond to such concern. Both the Prime-minister and the Minister of Education stated that at least 97 percent of children had access to internet, because data shows that 97 percent of the Albanian population owns a smart mobile phone.

Meanwhile CRCA/ECPAT Albania got in daily touch with almost every Child Protection Unit in Albania (CPUs) to identify the children who were most at need for a mobile/tablet and internet connection and who were not attending online distance learning.

Within two weeks many CPUs send us reports on the number of children in urgent need for equipment and internet to attend online schooling. In total there are so far at least 578 children in need, out of which 503 urgently need equipment and internet, whole 75 children need only internet service. The list of children extends to almost all regions of Albania.

CRCA/ECPAT Albania next week will start a campaign for collection of free handsets and internet for children from mobile companies, businesses, e-commerce centers and the wider communities in Albania.

Albania has been in quarantine since March this year, and since March 9, all public educational institutions in the country have been closed, forcing 571,616 children to pursue their education through distance learning.

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