The various Tertiary institutions, since Tuesday 23 of March, 2020 have all been vacated by their individual Boards of Management in accordance with the stance taken by His Excellency Nam Addo Danquah that, “all Public and Private Tertiary institutions be closed down indefinitely”, as a result of the outbreak of the Covid-l9 pandemic.
The Ministry of Education, coordinating with the National Council for Tertiary Education, directed all tertiary institutions to engage their students with online leaning platforms in order to ensure academic continuity even as students stayed at home.
This initiative is applauded for its innovation and ingenuity in such a time where the contact method of learning has been effectively rendered null by the pandemic. We, the SRC of Koforidua Technical University, do not believe that the circumstances necessary for the full implementation and utilisation of the Virtual Learning platform are either present or enough to take full advantage of.
Also, a section of the student population of the university stand to miss out on this initiative because of the university’s inability to fully educate all students on the know-hows of the E-Leaning Platforms. There have been no previous orientations undertaken by the university to educate and inform the students on the techniques needed to fully use the Virtual Learning Platform for academic works. Some students have reported to the SRC that they have no prior knowledge of the Virtual Learning Platform that KTU employs and some finding it difficult to access the system.
Other problems arise from the fact that not all students possess the required computer hardware needed for accessing the E-Leaning Platform. A number of students do not own the hardware components (i.e. smartphones, laptop computers etc) to access the virtual learning system due to the caste of society they may belong to.
Access to internet services is inconsistent all over the country and it can be a factor holding back some students from participating in the Online teaching and learning process. Also, some students may not have the minimum literacy required to operate the systems that combine to ensure the efficiency of the Virtual Learning Platform
Without including the poor and stressful mental states that the current environment of the country has plunged some students into that may hinder their ability to fully participate in the online teaching and learning procedures, it is evident that the Virtual Learning Platform suggested for academic continuity is not the best action in the interest of uninterrupted learning that was foreseen by the Ministry of Education and NCTE. Students from other institutions enrolled on their internal E-Learning Platforms are constantly voicing out their negative concerns and frustrations with the System and we believe this is not the right step to take for academic Progress.
We, therefore, plead with Management to address the apprehensions we have with the rollout of the virtual learning platform with respect to effective tutorials of the online learning platforms especially and finding ways to address the issue of students without the hardware to access the platform. And also, after the necessary challenges have being addressed, we plead there should be piloting among students before its fully launched. We believe if this is done, accepting the system and fully utilizing it will be easier for students and academic work can proceed with some form of normalcy.