Aspirants for the portfolios of the Students Representative Council of UPSA for the 2020/2021 academic year, on behalf of the students of the University in a letter to the school Authorities yesterday shared their grievances towards the Universities decision to conduct the end of semester examination through the virtual learning platform.
The Aspirants in the letter commended the Management of UPSA for the proactive and pragmatic measures they put in place to ensure continuity of academic work amidst the Covid’19 pandemic which predated the Government’s intervention.
Acknowledging the impact of virtual learning system in this trying times, with reference to the President statement “These are not ordinary times”. Stated that their normal way of life has been affected but will have to adapt to changes in the fight against the novel Coronavirus (Covid’19).
The following are the grievances shared with the hope that their plea will be considered and exams will be on a hold for the meantime as we go through this period of fighting
1.Ghana’s situation in the Covid’19 pandemic keep increasing day-in-day-out with rapid community spread. Infected persons identities are not made known to the public, all other things been equal no one can tell how many students of UPSA are infected with this virus as it stands now or from now to the start of exams. The relatives of some students might have been infected and been sent to isolation centers for treatment leaving these students in grief, fear and panic and these group of students will not have sound mind to study for exams.
2.Since the implementation of the virtual learning platform students have faced several challenges, one to the other; difficulty in accessing the platform, difficulty in enrolling unto the various courses, difficulty in accessing course materials, difficulty in submission of assignments and accessibility to good network amongst others. As it stands now good number of students who have registered their courses have not
yet submitted even one of their assignments due to the challenges listed above. It’s obvious that these group of students who are unable to submit their assignments will not be able to participate effectively in an exam through the virtual learning platform.
3.Students have little knowledge on the virtual learning platform since it is first of it kind to us. We do not know how to effectively use the system. Only few students know how to submit assignments and apart from submitting assignments they do not know anything else on the platform. Those amongst us who do not know how to submit assignments contact these few students to submit their assignments on their behalf, a manual on how to use the virtual learning platform at this time will not be enough for students to master the use of the virtual learning platform in other to write exams.
4.Teaching and learning through the virtual learning platform has not been effective since its implementation. Ninety(90%) percent of lecturers only upload learning materials and assignments on the platform and leave students to their fate, this has left so many students in dark, they do not have the slightest idea on most of the topics especially courses that involves calculation. For this reason most students are not prepared for exams.
5.In the Ghanaian society not all parents can afford laptops for their children, even school fees is usually a problem for most parents. Only ten(10%) out of the student populace of UPSA have laptops and as a matter of fact for every student to be able to participate effectively in this exams through the virtual learning platform, it will be prudent to use a laptop. As smartphone users may manage – giving the difficulties they may face, others do not even have smartphones and as we are all aware this pandemic
has affected everything, the menial jobs their parents would have done to get money in order to get them smartphones has all being closed down especially in the areas where the lockdown has affected. So if there will be an exams, what happens to those students ?
6.As mentioned in point five(5), most parents struggle to afford fees for their children and as it stands now so many students have not paid their fees yet because their parents were still trying their best to gather money for them to pay their fees and unfortunately this pandemic has put an embargo on everything. Whatever activities/trades they would have engaged in to get money for their children is
either closed down or do not have market leaving parents helpless. Covid’19 have caused enough stress and trauma, so to put students and parents through another stress and trauma for having to defer their courses due to inability to pay fees at this difficult times may be unfair.
7.In as much as students are home and observing the Covid’19 precautionary measures and protocols, there is still fear and panic one way or the other due to daily increase in cases and this might not put students in the right state of mind to write exams.