Distance Education Hut for 11-Year-Old Aleksandre
A small hastily-assembled hut is seen at the foot of Walnut Tree. Old Blankets cover the walls, presumably, to keep the hut warm. A small boy is sitting in the middle of the Hut.
He is Aleksandre Tsotskolauri, 11, an only pupil in the village of Khevischala. He attends online lessons from this Hut.
He catches Internet signal only in this place. Fire is burning in the old wood stove, but it is cold anyway. Aleksandra frequently gets his feet frozen. The frost has dehisced his lips, but this Hut is the only place, where he manages to attend online lessons.
"Our house stays below. Internet could not be caught there. Before winter, I used to come here and attend lessons. Then, my father assembled this hut not to get my books wet and not to catch a cold. My lessons start at 09:50. Now, online lessons are shorter and I have to stay in this Hut for 2 hours. The fire must be burning every time. Curtain used to cover the front side of the Hut earlier, but then we removed it because the internet signal could not penetrate within. The smartphone is also inefficient. My computer is broken. The smartphone works well only in sunny weather”, Aleksadnre is a 5-grade pupil.
He could go to school in Matani or in Akhmeta, but the village of his parents Khevichala is a 10-km way from Akhmeta and a 6-km way from Matani. The road crosses the forest and river. His mother took efforts that Aleksandre could go to a nearby school, but the Education Ministry ignored to ensure Aleksandre’s transportation to school and the reverse. Before starting the academic year, their parents took Aleksadnre to his brother and his family in Lilo, Tbilisi. “It is difficult to stay without mother and father. I visit my father in the summertime, on holidays. Sometimes, I cannot see him for a year. I prefer to stay here and go to school somewhere nearby if an automobile takes me there. At home, my mother would teach me, while, here, I have to learn alone. I can walk, get up at 7 o’clock, but walking is dangerous, because bears or wolves may catch me. There is woodland around. Nobody is to call for around. I am alone in this village. Another family grows three children in our village, but they have moved to Akhmeta amid the academic year”.
Tbilisi-based public schools have moved to online lessons 4 months ago. Aleksandre stays with their parents in the village. He does not believe that a constant internet connection is available in Khevischala. At this stage, 661,500 children from 3 to 17 years old stay home amid closed kindergartens and public schools, including 50,400 children who do not have access to the internet and computer. 221,000 children live below the poverty level.