GOVERNMENT MUST REJECT ANY DECISION BY UNIVERSITIES TO CONDUCT EXAMS ONLINE LAWRENCE BOTCHWAY JNR
Indeed we are not in normal times and thus each and everyone of us must tune our minds and collectively consolidate our strengths and efforts to rally behind the government to fight against the covid 19 pandemic which has become an albatross around the necks of all of us.
Covid 19 has undoubtedly caused more problems to the world/Ghana especially to the economy, social life, academic life, etc.. but unfortunately we have no option than to accommodate and ensure we fight it.
It is unfortunate however that, certain tertiary institutions including UPSA has decided to conduct examinations online for students amidst the current social difficulty, psychological traumas and unusual lifestyles.
I strongly believe the decision to conduct exams online was not borne out of broader and extensive consultations because per my checks, the decision does not reflect the true interest of several students.
As a concerned student, I am highly astonished to see notices of tertiary institutions depicting that exams shall be conducted online.
It is prudent to reiterate that, we are not in normal times as stated clearly by the President of the Republic and thus we must engage all stakeholders in making decisions, resort to proper consultations, dissect decisions and welcome criticisms in other to arrive at a well justified conclusion.
School administrations must take into account the mental stability and psychological well being of students because same is highly essential in every academic discourse.
There are a lot of students on tertiary campuses who are student workers and struggle to pay their own fees. Most people engage in hand to mouth jobs of which they receive their wages / allowances daily.
However in view of the restrictions imposed by the government such persons have not received any allowance from their job sides. This implies that, they have to depend on their savings for a living.
The last time I calculated, the cost of internet data alone to enable students access their various online virtual platforms since the directives of school administrations to hold lectures online has caused students between GhS 150 to GhS 350 in less than three weeks. This is inherently causing financial burdens on students because they are home and not working.
To add to that, there are several students who due to financial constraints have not registered for the semester and thus have not been able to access the online virtual platform since normal lectures were halted because the virtual learning platform is only available to students who have registered for the semester.
How do we expect such students to participate in the exams?
I am not inclined to believe that, this online exams is intended to deprive students the rights to examination and a deliberate attempt to fail students for no reason.
Furthermore, there are several students who because of the restrictions imposed by the government moved to their respective rural towns to help their parents engage in farming.
Here is a student who is currently at KobiKrom located at the outskirts of the Eastern region with poor internet connection. How do we expect such a student to fairly and equally benefit from this exams.
Many students are also not conversant with the learning system because there was no orientation on same. How do we expect such students to effectively and efficiently use the platform.
I will entreat the school administrations to reconsider the decision to hold online exams because it will not Favour the student populace and further plead with the government to scrap the decision because same is not welcomed by students
The writer is columnist