The Covid-19 Pandemic: Ugandan Students Opt for Online Studying
By Atukunda Patience
As the covid-19 pandemic spreads across the globe, many schools and institutions of higher learning have been directed to close. In Makerere university, while the other students were all joy and merry over the much needed break from the mid semester stress, final year students who were looking forward to May 2020 as their last month of being at compass are stranded with the directive.
This has however given us an opportunity to embrace online studying. Students were advised to access reading materials on MUELE (Makerere University Electronic Learning Environment) that will be of help during the lock down. The lock down has not stopped some course units such as Research Methodology to go on. Students have continued with the online discussions and assessments on the platform. While this has been in place for some years after being introduced to encourage virtual learning, it had not been previously fully utilized.
But with the pandemic ravaging the globe, students have no option but to embrace the same.
Other platforms such as WhatsApp group chats and, Google platforms have as well been embraced to continue with the different discussions among course mates and lecturers. This is easing the interaction and preparation for the upcoming exams.
This trend has also been embraced by other universities to be able to complete the semester planned courses on time. For example Uganda Technology and Management University (UTAMU) has issued a directive to have the rest of the tests, course works, presentations and the exams on the e- learning platform and Skype. Other universities like Uganda Christian University (UCU), Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) and Kyambogo are looking into the option of having the final exams done online
Some television stations have introduced learning programs designed for secondary and primary students to help them with their revision while at home.
In as much as this of study in developed countries and other African nations like Rwanda and Kenya, this is not the case in Uganda considering that access to Wi-Fi and Mobile internet which are vital for the implementation is low and will increase the cost incurred by low income earners in Uganda. For online and mobile learning to take place, other gadgets like Laptops, tablets and smart phones are also required but may be quite expensive. This serves as a stumbling block to the online learning
Another limitation of learning online at home are the destructions at home including Television, House chores and playing with siblings.
Nevertheless this is a chance for us students to embrace the new developments in the learning environment and the world being a global village.