MEC Connected Students Project takes the internet for more than 150 thousand students to continue studying
Daiane Brabo, student at Instituto Federal do Pará | Credit: Personal archive
Article updated on 2/5/2021
If, at the beginning of the year, someone told the student Daiane Brabo that she would need to take the third and final semester of the Agricultural Technician course at the Federal Institute of Pará (IFPA) remotely, watching the classes on the cell phone, she would not be surprised only, like everyone impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. She would be worried as well. The young woman from Pará, 22, daughter of family farmers, does not have internet at home and could not access the educational content provided by the institution where she studies. "I come from a very poor family, we are not able to install Wi-Fi at home, or put credit on the phone every week," she explains.
But the pandemic came without warning. Where Daiane lives, in Breves, a municipality in the Marajó , archipelago about 221 km from the capital Belém, too. To attend classes on-line, the student had an internet signal provided by a neighbor. She had, past tense. Because today, the student included in the Connected Student Project of the Ministry of Education (MEC) has mobile internet available to continue her studies.
Daiane Brabo received one of the 128,384 chips delivered by the National Education and Research Network (RNP) to 94 universities and federal institutes since the project traveled throughout Brazil to provide free internet for students in socially and economically vulnerable situations enrolled in higher education institutions of the federal network.
“We live in a very poor area. In these times of pandemic, when we cannot go to the institution in person, this chip minimizes our difficulties. The chips provided by MEC are wonderful. The internet is very good! We can access on-line classes without interruption, keep our activities up to date and satisfy our needs as students. This is very important! As we know that at the end of the plan it is automatically renewed, we know that we will not be without internet”, the student from the Agriculture Technical course praises.
In addition to enabling students to continue their academic activities remotely, the project contributes to make access to education more democratic, drive digital inclusion and reduce inequality in access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), mainly in areas more distanced from big centers, where the internet offer is still beginning. This is very common reality where Daiane lives. She had to migrate from the countryside to live in Breves to study, as soon as she entered high school. But many of her colleagues at IFPA live in the countryside regions or are part of riverside populations. In the North region, the least connected in the country, in addition to the social-economic vulnerability, the distance and the access hindered by extensive rivers reinforce the need of the project headed by MEC.
Prof. Claudio Alex Jorge da Rocha, Dean of IFPA, receives chips at the institution | Credit: Reproduction/IFPA
Eliani Neves, social assistant, member of the Education Pro-Dean´s Office and head of the department of student assistance and inclusive actions at IFPA explains that most of the students at the institution are in a situation of social-economic vulnerability. “Without a doubt, this project is extremely importance, it is the democratization of education. With the action, we make it possible for all students to continue their studies, achieve academic success and graduate their course. For the students in social vulnerability situation, who live in remoter areas, in the rural zone or in the riverside regions to be able have the same educational possibilities as the students who live in the urban area, where access to the internet is easier”, the social assistant defends.