How does distance education work?

students at day care center nepal stand together and draw all wearing blue school uniforms and mouth guards
PFPID Day Center in Nepal 2021

Children with disabilities who go to school are hit hard by the closure of schools.

The pandemic has left many children and young people in the world without school meals, health care and education.

Surveys show that more than half of the households where a person with a disability lives do not have access to electricity. Many families living with disabilities live in poverty and cannot afford a computer or internet connection. For those children, there is no distance learning.

But even those who have financial opportunities encounter problems. Technology problems and digital unfamiliarity often make up for it. Being responsible for having the right and updated computer programs, fixing with internet connections and learning different digital platforms makes it difficult for many students.

Lack of support and available school materials hit hard and the distance education that has been introduced in some cases does not work for everyone. For example, distance education is carried out in many places via radio, which then excludes the deaf and many with hearing impairment.

The consequences are also severe for children with other disabilities. Many students with visual impairment or blindness have not received material adapted to their needs and have been completely excluded from teaching. 

Many students feel forgotten because their needs are not taken into account. Maintaining concentration, focus and motivation in online teaching is difficult for most people, but especially challenging for children and young people with cognitive and intellectual disabilities such as autism.

Teachers and staff can improve the opportunities for students with disabilities by being more flexible and, above all, asking students about their needs but also taking help and support from local disability organizations.

Example: Nepal

Children and young people with intellectual disabilities have been hit hard by the pandemic. Many live in extreme poverty and do not have access to electricity, computer or internet connection.

In Nepal, MyRights and FUB Örebro's partner organization Parent Federation of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (PFPID-Nepal) runs a day center for children and young people with intellectual disabilities. The center, which conducts educational activities and education for children and young people, has conducted its activities digitally during the closure due to the pandemic.

The children who have committed parents and who also have resources in the form of computer and internet have had the opportunity to participate in classes online. The organization has assisted some parents with financial support for the children to be able to participate in distance education. It has also been a learning process for many parents. They have learned to use computers and the internet together with the children and the center's educators.

The educators say that it has been a challenge to get the students to come to the online classes, but that over time it has gotten better and that the classes are important for keeping in touch with each other.

students at PFPID day center in nepal sit in school desks with mouth guards during a lesson
Schools have gradually been able to reopen in Nepal, the picture is from PFPID Day Center 2021.

Did you know that

Girls and boys with intellectual disabilities are four times more likely to be exposed to violence and abuse than children without disabilities. In addition, they are almost three times more likely to be exposed to sexual violence. During the pandemic shutdowns, the risks have increased as many have been completely isolated in their homes together with perpetrators.


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