The University of Zambia Student Union (UNZASU) has condemned the move by UNZA Management and the Ministry of Higher Education to introduce E-learning amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the submission made by the Student Union to the Ministry, E- learning is not feasible as many factors hinder the success of this improvision because the University is a pro-poor institution.
UNZASU President Shadrick Mumba explained that many students depend on bursary for survival in school and since during this period they will not be given allowances, students will not be able to buy bundles on a weekly basis that would give them access to E-learning.
Additionally, Mr. Mumba said that many students are not yet registered, which defeats the purpose of the improvison as only registered students will be able to access the E-learning platform.
E-learning will only serve its intended purpose if it is inclusive by being readily accessible to all students and in the process leaving no one behind,he said.
He further said that other factors like poor internet connectivity in most parts of the country, lack of face to face interactions between students and lecturers, inconsideration of special needs students as well as load shedding all pose a threat to the success of E-learning.
A student at UNZA with special needs Boniface Mukopa explained that him being visually impaired translates into him entirely depending on other people to access E-learning.
“I have to depend on my peers for information whether right or wrong which defeats the whole purpose of learning online,” said Mukopa.
Additionally, a student from the School of Education Zack Mulinde said that University management has not done much as far as awareness is concerned.
“Most of us are hearing E-learning for the first time which should not be the case. Us not knowing much about the platform makes it even harder to operate,” Mulinde said.
And a School of Engineering student Tonga Meja explained that the course requires them to carry out labs from workshops which will only remain in theory if E-learning proceeds.
Meanwhile, UNZA fourth year student in the Department of Media and Communication Studies Chilufya Makasa agrees with the Union because he feels it is not fair for only a small percentage of students to access the improvison while others suffer due to circumstances beyond their control.
Mr. Makasa further explained that in as much as it is understandable that government is trying to cushion the education shock the country is most likely to face, other factors have to be put into consideration to ensure that no one is left behind.