5,000 pupils to get smart devices for remote studies

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About 3%, or 5,000 of Latvia's school-age students have neither a computer at home, nor a smartphone with internet access, making remote studies impossible.

A public-private partnership between tech companies and the Education Ministry will however seek to provide these students with smart devices to ensure they can still study during the coronavirus outbreak.

The ministry told the press March 19 that private partners LMT and Bite will provide a total of 5,266 smart devices for students, alongside calls and internet access. 

The ministry said it invites other companies to participate in the scheme to ensure access to remote education. 

"The crisis situation has created many challenges across the country but it has provided opportunities as well. One of these is starting remote studies in Latvia. With this we will ensure the necessary tools so that every Latvian resident, especially those less socially protected, would have access to quality education. Thanks to our partners for active involvement in tackling this matter," said Reinis Znotiņš, Parliamentary Secretary at the Education Ministry. 

There are about 3,000 pupils in grades 1 through 5 without access to smart devices. For grades 6 through 9 the figure is 2,000 and 361 for grades 10 through 12. 

The ministry has asked the government to grant financial support for the scheme.

A state of emergency has been declared in Latvia from March 13 to April 14. During this time studies across educational institutions are to take place remotely. 

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