Now that the pandemic has forced parents to become teachers, as students are being taught virtually, parents residing in the Upper-Berbice community of Kwakwani, on Tuesday, staged a protest against the poor quality of internet provided by Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT). The visibly frustrated residents said they continue to pay for a service they are not benefiting from and now that their children’s education is at stake, something needs to be done to improve the quality of the internet the community is receiving. They claim they are not getting value for their money. ” I does pay $3000 for a monthly internet service and I am unable to access the service, I keep paying so I can get better internet service in the future,” a depressed Gibson (the only name given), stated.
Residents related that children are at a tremendous disadvantage in accessing their virtual classes and the materials that are sent by their teachers via digital platforms. Many of the parents revealed that they cannot afford data to complement the DSL services. “Our children are being left behind as it relates to virtual learning, we know the teachers are doing their best to meet out to the children, but because of the economic situation, some parents are unable to afford plans on their phones so their children can receive work on their phones from their teachers. We have been paying GTT faithfully every month for our DSL service and it is terrible, it is beyond slothful, ” the frustrated Loraine Reynolds noted.
Students of all levels, including University, are being affected by the internet situation. With the reopening of the University of Guyana via online classes, students were forced to leave the community to attend classes. “As a result of the poor internet connection, I was left with no other choice, but to leave Kwakwani to conduct my studies online. One is unable to load videos or pictures, messages would take a very long time to be delivered, and this is very frustrating and annoying. Many hours are lost because of wasting time waiting for something to load, but it never loads. The poor internet connection is a huge hindrance and a setback,” one University student said. Residents are remaining hopeful that with the liberalization of the telecommunications sector, other internet providers that will take advantage of the now open market, will strongly consider bringing their service to Kwakwani.