Operator Sky Mobile, working under the Beeline Kyrgyzstan brand, has launched a new mobile plan for teachers. The plan includes 30 GB, 100 minutes to Kyrgyzstan mobile networks, unlimited on-net calls and SMS and unlimited data for Telegram, WhatsApp, Google Classroom, Skype, Zoom and local educational resources. The plan is available for KGS 285.00 a month (US $3.36).
The operator is also making special remote learning plans available for students at a cost of KGS 285.00 a month or KGS 105.00 (US $1.24) a week.
As we have mentioned on numerous occasions, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about radically new ways of doing many things, and education is not the least among them. For teachers and students doing remote schooling, the need for applications such as Zoom and Google Classroom has grown. In this light, it makes sense to market a mobile plan aimed at teachers that includes zero-rated data for these educationally oriented apps and platforms. Given that performing remote schooling is intimately linked with the rhythms of a teacher’s everyday life, including voice and SMS is appropriate, even if these are not used as much for education as the data for Zoom and so forth.
As for students, it is a public-spirited gesture on Beeline’s part to make learning plans available, although one wonders whether these have been approved by schools or created in partnership with schools. It also may be difficult to persuade students and their families to pay for something that is potentially redundant with what is already provided by their local schools, even though it is not expensive.
As far as teachers are concerned, it could also be somewhat difficult to get them to pay for this tariff out of their own funds; perhaps the intention is that schools will pay for their employees to have it. Furthermore, since pandemic restrictions are easing in some regions of the world and students are returning to in-person learning, this offer may not be the best-timed; on the other hand, it is possible that remote learning will continue to one extent or another for a while or even become a permanent option for some students.