Home computer shortage hinders remote teaching in pandemic | education

The most recent TIC Educação survey reveals that digital inclusion via cell phone was not enough to enable remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data from the survey carried out by Cetic.br, 86% of schools report that the lack of adequate devices and internet connection was a challenge during closing.


Empty school in Brazil during COVID-19 pandemic (Image: Feliphe Schiarolli/Unsplash)

In speech echoed by the Digital Convergence, Fabio Senne, coordinator of ICT Research at Cetic.br, says that the lack of computers is a factor of inequality in access.

“The computer is central to the monitoring of teaching, but among students over 16 years old in classes D and E, the proportion of those who have the equipment decreases a lot. And in the 10 to 15 age group, only 29% use a computer.”

This complaint ranked second on the list of challenges identified by the schools. First, with 93%, were the difficulties of parents and guardians to help children with school activities.

Printed materials and WhatsApp groups

The survey also shows that the difficulty in accessing remote learning was such that many schools had to resort to printed materials.

According to the questionnaire, 93% of them set days and times so that those responsible could personally go and get activities for the children. This was the most adopted measure to continue education in the pandemic.

Second, was the creation of online groups with students and guardians on platforms such as Whatsapp and Facebook. According to the survey, 91% of schools resorted to this practice..

Once again, this reinforces the dependence on cell phones, as social networks and messengers are very accessible through mobile devices.

Recordings trump live classes in pandemic

Another point that suggests difficult access is the preference for recordings over videoconferencing tools such as Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams. Platforms dedicated to teaching are even less used.

In the survey, 79% of schools said they used video recordings of classes for students, while 65% held live meetings. Videoconferencing was even less used in rural schools (39%), municipal (48%) and with up to 50 students (43%).

The use of education-specific tools such as Google Classroom was even lower: it was present in 58% of all schools. Again, rural (34%), municipal (42%) and up to 50 students (39%) schools made less use of these platforms.

type of school recorded lessons live classes education platform
Total 79% 65% 58%
Rural 59% 39% 34%
Municipal 70% 48% 42%
< 50 students 63% 43% 39%

Internet access via computer has been falling since 2014

In recent years, TIC Household surveys have already shown that the growth in the number of internet users has been mainly through cell phones.

Homes with internet access went from 50% in 2014 to 83% in 2020. The percentage of the population that says they use the Internet went from 58% to 81%.

2014 2020
Households with access 50% 83%
internet users 58% 81%

On the other hand, the percentage of internet users who access the network through computer dropped from 80% to 42% in the same period. Even TVs represent a larger share of access, with 44%.

The great growth in access was due to the cell phone: in 2014, 76% of users accessed the internet through their mobile device; in 2020, it’s already 99%.

Means of access 2014 2020
Computer 80% 42%
TV 7% 44%
Cell phone 76% 99%

The computer and broadband situation has improved a little in the last year. In 69% of homes there is broadband internet, an increase of 8% compared to the previous year. Homes with a computer are 45%, an increase of 6%.

Even so, data from the 2020 edition reinforce the dependence on cell phones. Internet users accessing the network exclusively for the mobile device are 58%.

This percentage is still higher among children aged 10 to 15 years, precisely a school age group: 71% of internet users in this age group access the internet only by cell phone.

In the classes D and E, the percentage of users who only connect via mobile device is 90%.

You can see more data from the TIC Educação and TIC Domicílios surveys on the Cetic.br website.

With information: Cetic.br 1, 2, Digital Convergence

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