Mexico struggles to teach children remotely

Coronavirus Pandemic

Prospective students are seen through a fence in the stands of University Olympic Stadium where they take the entrance exam for Mexico's National Autonomous University, amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in Mexico City, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. More than 2,000 hopefuls registered to take the exam at the stadium, where it was being offered for the first time, and more than 80,000 aspirants were registered nationwide to take the exam. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
By The Associated Press undefined

MEXICO CITY — Millions of Mexican school children returned to classes, but not schools, on Monday as the government attempted to start a new school year despite the challenges of the pandemic.

A system cobbling together online classes, instruction broadcast on television channels and radio programming in Indigenous languages is meant to keep students from missing out in a country already defined by deep inequalities.

As other countries around the world have already discovered, there is no perfect replacement for in-person classes.

The Mexican government enlisted the country’s largest private television companies to dedicate channels to school programming around the clock. Education officials developed schedules giving students at each level multiple opportunities to watch their classes.

Education Secretary Esteban Moctezuma said officials decided to rely on television because it has a far greater penetration that the internet. Still, questions abound about how families, especially those with multiple children, will juggle the classes along with jobs that could force both parents out of the home — often taking their children along with them.