Sandrine Tano writes: No Student Deserves This – COVID-19 Is No One’s Fault

“I had just four minutes to finish a 20 question MCQ assessment. I studied very hard knowing how small the time limit was and how the internet connection fails most at times. The moment I logged unto the site to begin, an unfortunate network error occurred which caused the site to automatically submit my work. I got zero, an F, meanwhile I didn’t answer any question. This thing has really affected me and honestly this online study should be cancelled”… these were the unfinished words of a Second year student of KNUST before she burst into tears.

In early December 2019, retrospective investigators in China identified the first human case of the deadly virus  ” Covid-19″ .

The virus spread across the world in a very short while causing a great state of anxiety in many .

Most Ghanaians had their hopes up that they wouldn’t record a case due to the influx of the virus in other continents but Africa. This hope was however shattered as the country recorded its first Covid cases on 12th March, 2020.

In order to assiduously control and contain the spread of the virus , the President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo in an address to the nation on the 15th of March, 2020, ordered for the closure of religious gatherings , schools and other social gatherings. Almost everything came to a standstill.

Most students, especially *University Students* had smiles on their faces as they had to come back to their various homes amidst the fear of the spread of the virus, thinking it was a perfect opportunity to take a break from the stress of a long semester.

Infact, globally, academic calendars were brought to a state of total disarray.

Striving to complete the semester’s activities and study schedules, most developed and under developing countries made efforts to lay adequate measures in order to adapt to Online Studies.

Ghana, however, adopted this idea of transitioning the academic year online .

Yes, this pandemic took us all by surprise and coming together to address this global challenge, a transitioning to online studies is definitely the best way out.

This idea should have however started with laid down plans and resources that will help facilitate learning for every University student, which includes the vulnerable and the less vulnerable but the effectiveness and feasibility of this idea has been unfruitful because inadequate planning was made.

Not every student lives in urban areas where there are good internet connections.

Not every student has or can even afford necessary devices to access these online platforms.

Not every student is staying at home sleeping and eating all day .

Not every student has the chance to study effectively at home due to distracting surroundings and the others .

It won’t be fair if these lectures, quizzes and assignments favour some and not the whole.

It won’t be fair for anyone to trail due to circumstances beyond their control.

Some students have  gone the extra mile to stay up for midnight because midnight bundle subscriptions are the only ones they can afford and that’s the only time of the day when the internet connection is a little feasible .

The survival of students is most imperative right now, and adding all these online activities to the whole situation makes it worse to bear especially for those who aren’t in the right positions to take part.

Having to think of how you will survive and that test you are having difficulty accessing or even being aware of…. Come on!

I’m not in complete disagreement with online education, but I think things should be checked.

In my concern, I would suggest that first of all the work load should be assuaged.

The instructions attached to the online quizzes, tests and assignments are outrageous, requiring that students do the almost impossible in a very short time despite the effects of network issues and other deterring factors which will only cause most students to compromise their integrity, thereby, cheating. Hence, I would also suggest that the online works come with instructions that will take into consideration factors that interrupt online studies.

Adequate time should be given for the submissions of these works because the deadlines seem unrealistic considering the fact that students have other things to attend to.

I would also suggest that the monthly data bundles provided by the schools should be increased to accommodate the online activities.

Analysing the issue from a different angle, the current situation is in a way making student believe that their grades are more important than their understanding of a course which should be made paramount. This is because the schools only seem to be interested in examinations and it’s results even though most lecturers weren’t half way through with the semester’s syllabus.

Several complaints have been made by students concerning the matter but all seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

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