Bringing children in Peru up to speed with Internet

Photo: EFE

Photo: EFE

09:24 | Paruro (Cusco region), Sep. 13.

Ensuring all the children of Peru, especially those who live in rural areas, have access to the same resources and are ready for the 21st century's economy is one of the greatest challenges for Internet in a country where technology is seen as the best tool for integration.

Paruro, an Andean town more than 3,000 m.a.s.l., has just celebrated the arrival of the Internet for All (Internet para Todos - IpT) project, which aims to bring 4G connections to remote areas in the South American country.

The initiative seeks to reduce the cultural, educational gap between children from different areas and backgrounds, as well as to move towards a future offering equal opportunities.

At Nuestra Señora del Carmen, a small public school in Paruro, the teaching staff and 80 elementary students hope the web will help eliminate disadvantages brought about by distance, wealth, and language —most of the community speaks indigenous Quechua— when it comes to taking on the digital era.

"With technological advances we're making it so our children, our school, are able to offer the same as children from cities," the institution's director Ana Claudia Aviles told Efe.

"With technology, Internet, and tablets, learning is more dynamic and open, as it is for children in other regions and countries."

Aviles and her students welcomed the heads of IpT —a company set up by Telefonica del Peru, Facebook, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF)— which has brought mobile networks to the population.

"Internet will allow us to keep up the pace, advance in all fields of knowledge and, above all, connect with other places," said the school's director.

"They'll be able to grow in all aspects."

The school's 11-year-old representative Olenka Farfan told Efe that using Internet better would allow her and her peers to "be like those from Lima and other places."

"There are people here who are still not familiar with Internet, unlike those in Lima, who are more advanced than people in rural areas," she said. "I asked them to bring us Internet so we could research things."

Pedro Cortez, the general manager of Telefonica Peru, agreed with the school's director and students that it was "essential" for remote places like Paruro to have access to Internet, where —unlike places like Lima— "not all resources are available."

"This is integration work. There's no access to infrastructure like there is in cities. There are physical gaps and we cannot allow technological gaps to form as well," said Cortez. "If this gap grows, it could increase poverty and complicate integration, plus big cities could have a lot more advantages as compared to jungle and mountainous regions in Peru."

Teresa Gomez, CEO of IpT, said the idea of the project was not only about bringing Internet to places that have no access to it yet, but about using it in "an effective and efficient way."

"Education without digital technology is no longer possible," Gomez said. "We have to be at the point where teachers can be in a central location that we can connect and have remote access to information as if we're there."

"Connecting populations, that's what we're looking for," she concluded.


Published: 9/13/2019
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