WhatSapp valuable resource during covid-19 and helps student’s abroad lead normal life

WhatSapp  valuable resource during covid-19  and helps student’s abroad lead normal life


DILI, 24 may 2021 (TATOLI)- Using the messaging platform WhatsApp is an important coping mechanism for people living in areas characterized by conflict and those that impose the lockdown due to Covid-19.

A new study carried out by BGU’s Communications Department found that for most people – and specifically parents – who live in an area characterized by ongoing violent conflict, being part of a communal WhatsApp group serves an important role in providing emotional support and a sense of security.

The same things experienced by Timorese people live in many ASEAN Countries. Genoveva Soares das Neves, a Timorese student studying on a Scholarships in Wuhan University, Hubei China, said, during Covid-19 WhatsApp became a communication media for families in Timor-Leste.

Genoveva Soares das Neves, Timorese student in Wuhan University, Hubei China (Image/fb)

“As the Coronavirus spreads throughout the world, family communication patterns and human lifestyles have changed,” she said. 

Everyone values ​​health more by changing their lifestyle to be cleaner and healthier, and face-to-face communication between family members begins to decline.

According to social media Analyst in Timor Leste, various changes have been experienced by the community since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in early 2020. Starting from the economic, social, and communication sectors. 

“One of the sectors most affected in terms of communication is family communication, People must stay at home, communicate with family and relatives only through social media and virtual applications. The social media that is most widely used today in Timor Leste is the WhatsApp media,” She said. 

According to a social media analyst, WhatsApp is now a communication medium for families in Timor-Leste. 

To maintain communication relations, almost all families in Timor-Leste have also created WhatsApp groups to be able to interact and communicate with each other.

Mobile social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Google meets Easy class, google classroom, have also become valuable resources during emergencies in recent years, allowing quick and reliable communication when needed and used as a communal coping mechanism during natural disasters and wars and pandemic situation.

However, not all the Timorese who are residing in Timor-Leste are depending on these apps, many Timorese are not accessible for the internet connection, especially those who live in the remotes areas in Timor-Leste during the time of the pandemic. 

José De Araújo Barbosa, a student from Timor-Leste National University (UNTL) (Image Tatoli/Jose de Sa)

José De Araújo Barbosa, a student from Timor-Leste National University (UNTL), found it difficult to access the internet and using the online application during the time of the pandemic.

Since the Government enforced lock-downs to address the spread of COVID-19, the country has closed down all schools, religious activities, and other business activities nationwide. However, the students are required to attend online classes and even online works.

“We encountered many difficulties especially we have a poor internet connection, no credit load for online, and there are some of us still found it difficult to use the online application to access the online learning process,” José Araújo Barbosa told Tatoli during the interview at Becora.

José added that most students are not familiar with online applications such as zoom, Google meets Easy class, google classroom and WhatsApp. While only a few of the students are understanding and interesting in using the application for online classes.

“The student is complaining of the phone credit (Pulsa) as the country imposed the lockdown and not allowing our parents to run business and there is no income no allowance for buying the credit load for online,” he said.

According to José, Online classes have benefits and make students know how to independently study and doing homework creatively, by using the technology.

Arlinda Pinto student from the National University of Dili (UNDIL) said they are using Google meet and zoom for an online class, However, the internet is poor and it has many disruptions almost all the time when there are online classes.

Arlinda Pinto student from the National University of Dili (UNDIL)(Image Tatoli/Jose de Sa)

“With the poor internet connection and no credit card, It is not motiving the student to have an online class. The network connection is not covering all the rural territories and does not support the student to have online class,” she said.

The UNTL student Bernadino Braganca who is studying at Education Humanity and art under the English Department said most students who studied Dili coming from municipalities and most currently have financial difficulties to answer to their basic needs.

Bernadino Braganca (UNTL) (Image Tatoli/Jose de Sa)

“To be participating in Online study/online classes through the application, still hard for us to buy phone credit, some students still not owned android phone while It is about 25% of the student not accessing to internet and they are not able to joint some application for an online class,” he said.

Thus he suggests to the government to speed up the distribution of phone credit to the students to support online classes.

Relevant new:MHESC to provide free internet access to 65.000 university students


Journalist: José Belarmino De Sa

Editor: Rafael Belo


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