UNAM sticks to online classes…

08 September 2021 | Education

The University of Namibia (UNAM) has decided to continue with online education despite complaints from some students that the e-learning system is flooded with technical issues, leading to failure and poor-quality learning.

UNAM transitioned fully to its online classes in April 2020 following the outbreak of Covid-19, which forced educational institutions, including of higher learning, to implement e-learning as part of efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

Although President Hage Geingob on 13 August 2021 announced that all schools and educational institutions can operate at full capacity with strengthened infection prevention and control measures in place, UNAM’s spokesperson John Haufiku said the university is continuing with e-learning until the end of 2021.

He said that due to the current Covid-19 situation and the projected oncoming wave, the university saw it fit to continue with online education. “The university also took into consideration that there are only two months left before the semester ends, so the logistics for both students and lecturers in terms of transitioning back to face-to-face is another factor,” he noted.

Myriad challenges

A second-year student who spoke anonymously said the e-learning methods has many challenges including technical issues, network problems, lack of internet access and poor teaching methods by some lecturers.

“For instance, during examinations the system is overloaded causing it to be slower than the allocated time. UNAM provided students with a pocket Wi-Fi with 10GB of data, however this is not enough because there is no uniformity in teaching as lecturers use different online applications,” the student said.

A first-year economics student shared the sentiments, saying the online system is not user-friendly as the interface limits students from having options as opposed to face-to-face classes.

“We opened up WhatsApp groups where we could communicate but some lecturers do not even read our messages. We cannot ask questions. At least during face-to-face classes, the lecturers are forced to interact with us,” he said.

Haufiku acknowledged that there are challenges for both students and staff to use the e-learning system optimally, but said it is an evolving field with improvements being made as challenges are encountered.

“Challenges are there, but 80% of our students have access to quality teaching and learning through the e-learning platform,” he said.

– Nampa

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