Brazilian rural schools suffer from lack of connectivity

Infrastructure limitations and high cost of services are among the challenges faced by educators, who often use their personal devices to support teaching activities, says study.

Limitations around infrastructure, as well as low connection speeds and high cost of services, are hampering connectivity in rural areas in Brazil, according to a new study.

The report released this week by the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br) looked at the state of connectivity in the country's schools in 2018 and found that only 34 percent of institutions located in rural areas have at least one computer equipped with Internet access.

However, connections of rural schools are around 2Mbps, rendering them nearly useless for classroom use. The situation is not that different in urban areas, where only 11 percent of schools have connections above 11Mbps.

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Problems faced by Brazilian schools located away from large urban centers is the lack of local infrastructure, cited by 43 percent of institutions, followed by the high cost of services, an issue mentioned by 24 percent of institutions.

Some 52 percent of teachers working in rural schools use their personal mobile phones for educational activities (52 percent), such as accessing content on the web (49 percent), communications via apps (49 percent) or communications with the education authorities (51 percent), according to the report.

According to the research, almost all schools in urban areas (98 percent) in Brazil have at least one connected device.

A separate report from CGI.br on connectivity trends for individuals found that full connectivity is still something only the wealthy can afford in Brazil.

Some 49 percent of households in Brazil solely relied on a mobile phone to get access to the Internet, according to the report. Of the households surveyed, 19 percent did not own a PC.

According to the Brazilian government, improving broadband connectivity is one of its key strategic priorities.