Mbabane: E-learning for University of Eswatini (UNESWA) seems to be a mere dream as students alleges to be incapacitated to learn online.
UNESWA Students Representative Council (SRC) has appealed to the university management regarding the proposed online learning resolution taken by the management.
Memorandum under signed by Secretary General Bongani Sifundza (SRC) sent to the university Registrar refer to the resolutions as bogus resolutions and it alleged to create a façade that students have financial capabilities and adequate electronic devices whilst most students are under resourced and not in conducive and geographical location to sustain E-learning.
On May 22 the university senate/management issued a press statement which entails the online learning resolutions taken by the management amid of Coronavirus outbreak. On the statement the management gave directives on how the online learning will be executed by the lectures and students.
The Students Representative Council has pleaded with the University management that if the online resolution will be enforced, the university should at least ensure of the following demands by the students:
- Residence fee, since the students are not residing on campus since the 17th of March 2020 with their residential fees paid fully the University should consider refunding them so that they can redirect their funds to cater for online learning.
- Tuition fee, according to 2.00 (financial regulations), 2.11 tuition fulltime per credit is E549 whilst tuition part time is E417 per credit. Since online learning will define all students as part time or distance students, the university should refund students the difference from the tuition fee so that they could improvise in the purchasing of the online learning aids such as data bundles and necessary electronics to mention the few.
- The university should also redirect book allowance to student’s personal accounts to buy necessary learning aids since we are switching to online learning. The University should give students the option or alternative to deregister the current semester without forfeiting their financial records of the semester.
- The University should refund the entire student body their respective caution fee of E280.00.
- The University Management should come out clear on the Assessment Model to be adopted and utilised for both assessments (formative and summative) since there’ll be a switch to online teaching and learning.
On behalf of the Students President, SRC Director of Academics Eugene Dlamini told Independent News that as students representative they believe that due to the prevailing situation students are incapacitated to learn online at home, therefore they should be allowed to go back to the campuses so to be able to access WiFi and electricity. Dlamini added that since the administration failed to buy all necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) the students body will resolve to procure the PPE for the students using the students subscriptions.
Dlamini said the management has not responded to their appeal as up to date hence they are weighing their options in a bid to find a way forward on the matter at hands and that might include a strike.
“Since we are embarking on E-learning, we want conducive environment for all students hence the need to go back to school and learn while in our rooms where there will be no physical interaction between students and lecturers.” Said Dlamini.
Another student Bongani Cwabe** interviewed randomly revealed to this publication that another thorn in the flesh of the students is that the management said they can use their book allowance to buy smartphones from the bookshop, which bookshop? Because the bookshop operated by Van Schaik bookstore has been closed since March due to outstanding balances owed by the university to the bookstore.
Cwabe alleged that the university is not transparent as next month is the due date for expiring of the contract between Van Schaik and the university so nothing is being communicated about that, about their accounts with the bookshop since they have money in the outgoing bookshop. “We want the balances in the bookshop before the contract expires” said Cwabe.
When sought for comment, The University Registrar Dr Salebona Simelane said the only response he can give is same as that one he gave the SRC through the letter he wrote directed to Secretary General of Students Representative Council Bongani Sifundza that lightly said he has received the students appeal and will forward it to the relevant structures of the university and will revert to the students with response.
Discussion about this post