María Cristina Arrua lives in the Mugica neighborhood. Your child is in 3rd grade at a City public school and having no computer or Internet is an everyday problem.
Lack of connection
It imposes a virtual but very real barrier to the education of your child in times of quarantine. It is a reality that thousands of children face and that led the Civil Association for Equality and Justice (ACIJ) to promote, along with other organizations and neighborhood groups, an action for protection so that the Buenos Aires government guarantees the pedagogical continuity of students from popular neighborhoods.
The result was
ordered today by the Administrative and Tax Litigation Court No. 2, in charge of judge Roberto Andrés Gallardo, who established, among other issues, the obligation that the City
hand over a laptop
, notebook or tablet to each public school student who is in a situation of social vulnerability. In addition, it ordered to ensure in no more than five days access to the Internet in the villages, settlements and neighborhoods of emergency, through the installation of wireless transmission equipment, such as those already operating in squares and other public spaces.
“In my house there is only one cell phone, but my partner takes it to work. Also, he needs credit and it is very expensive at the moment. I have no way to charge it every now and then,” said María Cristina. According to recent data from the Argentine Social Debt Observatory (ODSA) of the UCA, 6.4% of Buenos Aires households with children and adolescents do not have Internet access, a figure that rises to 9.7% in the case of those who do not have a computer, notebook or tablet to do school work.
“There are boys who three months ago did not have any
bond with your teachers
, who cannot continue their pedagogical trajectory, and that is unacceptable from the point of view of the right to education, “said Sebastian Pilo, co-director of ACIJ. In addition, he added that although many families have cell phones with data, they are insufficient to access the platforms where teachers usually teach.
Consulted by LA NACION, the Ministry of Education of the City indicated that until this afternoon they had not been formally notified of the measure ordered by the Justice, of which they had learned through the media. “Long time
we have been working to comply with what the ruling established
“They maintained, in addition to detailing that in the last month and a half, within the framework of the Sarmiento Plan, they delivered 5,000 computers to beneficiaries of the Universal Child Allowance (AUH), food scholarships and those who access school transportation.
ACIJ assured that the orders for computers are well above those delivered so far. In this sense, the court order establishes that, in the event that the number of devices requested is greater than those available, “the GCBA must present within five days a proposal for priority delivery of existing equipment, and a plan to meet unmet demand. ”
Walter Felipe, who is also a resident of Villa 31, raised the same concern: “My daughter’s teacher sends homework on WhatsApp every Monday first thing. Those who do not have a cell phone, computer or Internet do not receive them and end up having than printing them, which requires spending between 300 and 500 pesos per week. ” In addition, he explained that without connectivity it is very difficult to keep in touch with teachers to ask questions or receive corrections.
With distance education, the chronic problem of Internet access became more acute in these neighborhoods. “In the City there are 300,000 people who live in villas and in no case do they have an offer from the companies that provide the Internet,” says Pilo, for whom, in the current context, this impossibility of access constitutes
a new inequality.
“Education is a mechanism that tries to equalize and now the poorest population of the City does not even have that tool,” he stressed.
Before going to Justice, ACIJ complained about this issue in different work tables shared with the Government. “We realized that there was no effective response plan in the medium term,” said Pilo. On May 22,
presented their action for protection
, which was added to that made by a Buenos Aires tutelary adviser. Later, a similar request was incorporated from the Union of Education Workers (UTE) and from different groups of neighbors with their respective sponsors, including the Right to the City Observatory. All of them processed in the Administrative and Tax Contentious jurisdiction, where the cases against the Buenos Aires State are settled.
In the Ministry of Education they recalled that they have delivered to Buenos Aires students some 681,635 booklets with activities, and that the virtual platform “My school”, where teachers upload assignments and boys and girls can use from any electronic device, has a Agreement with telephone companies so that access to pedagogical content does not consume data.
On this point, Pilo explains that, normally,
families living in popular neighborhoods have data on their cell phones, but they do not reach
to, for example, participate in classes through Zoom or other platforms. “The fact that entering the government’s page does not consume data may be a step in the right direction, but it is insufficient to reverse the inequality of the population,” he warned.