GRADUATE STUDENTS OF UPSA not being treated fairly (subject to scrutiny)
The advent of the unfortunate worldwide pandemic caused HE President Akufo-Addo as it were, ask all private and public universities to close down for a period so as to manage and fight the spread of the COVID-19.
On Monday March 16, 2020, the management of the school rolled out its Virtual platform to enable students continue with their academic work even in these difficult trauma trying times. Though students were not consulted on this (we stand to be corrected, though) the whole system has been a near disaster.
It is on this note that we write to petition management on our grievances and the way forward in the interest of students and the University community.
We believe that E-learning is the way to go now, especially in such abnormal times, regardless. Unfortunately, the planned good intention of management has not gone well. The following are our concerns or grievances:
(i) Ineffective Online Lectures
It is unfortunate that the online platforms, be it Zoom, Hangout Meet and other several platforms that the lecturers (not all even have met us once for a lecture) are terribly delivered. We Learn practical or calculation related courses as if they were theory-based courses.
(ii) High Cost of Data and Unstable Internet Connectivity
The high cost of data was one of the main problems we had as students. Unfortunately, the free data that management negotiated with Vodafone for students was only for the Virtual platform and not the lectures organized online for students to log on. We have student population who are highly dispersed in the country and we cannot assume that they all have internet connectivity: not even those in the capital, Accra can boast of a stable internet service. Lockdown of some cities and the era of social distancing makes it unwholesome to move from one place to another to access internet connectivity.
(iii) Low Attendance to Online Lecture
Online lectures have largely been non-existent, to say the least. No online teaching platform has recorded over thirty students on a regular basis. It is highly impossible to have all students online in this telecommunication challenges we find ourselves in as a country. How can you lecture students and conduct examination for students who have been denied tuition by virtue of inexistent stable internet services?
(iv) Usage & Log in challenges of the Virtual Platform
Unfortunately, students find it difficult to log in and access the notes and other relevant information from their respective lecturers. Students who are able to access the platform found the platform not entirely user-friendly to aid in early submission of assignments.
(v) Rejection of Assignments through Virtual Platform
Students who have been unable to pay their fees are not being allowed to submit their work via the Virtual platform or any other means. At this time when water and electricity charges have been absolved by government, it is unfortunate on the part of management to ignore this fact. Students who have not paid their fees are charged with a penalty before the end of semester examinations and so why can’t their assignments be accepted?
THE WAY FORWARD
In these trying times, we are of the view that the following can help bridge the gap between management and the student body.
1. Ineffective Online Lectures
We are of the view that the UPSA must structure the online lectures well and get all its lecturers and students to appreciate what it is they are trying to achieve. Courses that are calculation based must be delivered in such manner to aid effective comprehension.
2. High Cost of Data & Unstable Internet Connectivity
Management can help to cushion students by subsidizing the cost of the data to students. The zero-rated virtual platform is not what the students want but rather the online platforms that are used to deliver the lectures.
3. Rejection of Assignments through the Virtual Platform
The management of the school must allow students who owe fees and are willing to submit their assignments to do so because after all, they will pay their penalties together with their outstanding fees.
4. Extension of Academic Calendar
We are of the view that the management must not rush to end the semester. We want management to extend the academic calendar to June or July, hoping that the Coronavirus pandemic ends for us to resume real classroom lectures and subsequently, take our End of Second Semester Examination.
We all seek the interest of the University of Professional Studies, Accra and the interest of ourselves. Let us be flexible in our dealing and allow students to feel a part of the administration of this institution.
We look forward to having a favourable response from management.
Long live UPSA
Long live GRASAG
Long live Ghana
#GRASAG Students of UPSA Deserve Better