Ghanaian educational system was arguably weak and Covid-19 has not affected it in a very bad manner. I am a student but I can tell you that our higher education has been living in the fantasy land.
Before the COvid-19 pandemic all the public Universities in Ghana used to focus on a traditional form of teaching and learning only, that is classroom teaching and learning. Today the impact of the pandemic is forcing them to adapt to a new form of teaching and learning, that is, online education. These public universities have created a medium that will make sure that virtual learning can take place.
But the big question is, how well are these medium functioning?
On Sunday 3rd May, 2020, Joy News rolled out a program, “BEYOND THE LOCKDOWN”, where Professor John Gyapong Vice Chancellor (UHAS), Professor Abednego Okoe Amartey Vice Chancellor (UPSA) and Professor Andy Ofori-Birikorang Vice Chancellor (UEW) were called upon to answer questions by tertiary students on the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on education. In their submissions they made it clear to the public that the medium or system put in place to enable teaching and learning in these odd times are functioning perfectly and it is a ninety-nine percent success. But as a student and having accessed the platform, I can boldly say that the platform is not as effective as they portrayed it. I want to emphatically state that there is no effective teaching and learning taking place on these platforms.
Some of these Universities are organizing online quizzes and examinations which are adding salt to the injuries of students that has already been caused by the pandemic. These quizzes are giving us headache. Attempting a quiz on these platforms are as difficult as licking your elbow. Amidst the issues of internet connectivity and poor network, the most heartbreaking is when we are told to go to the platform for a quiz and only to find that after login there are no questions for you to answer when some students have been able to answer these questions.
I am pleading with Joy News to invite student leaders from the various Universities in the same manner to share grievances of students as I can not mention them all here.
Again, during the program I mentioned earlier on Joy News on last Sunday, Professor Andy Ofori Birikorang, Vice Chancellor of UEW gave an advice to students which I think was not right and not well said. When The President, His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo has been advising each and every one to stay at home so that we can defeat the virus, Professor Andy Ofori Birikorang is advising students with network problems to travel all the way from their villages and hometowns to come and stay in their various hostels around their campuses and write online quizzes and examination. If that be the case we should be allowed to go back to school.
Foremost, I doubt it if Professor Andy Ofori Birikorang is aware of the financial crisis most Ghanaians are going through these hard times. I need not to be a prophet to say that there will be young graduates from the Senior High School all across the country who can not be able to afford going to the University after this pandemic.
Again, aside the financial constraints, is he not putting students life in danger advising some of us to travel all the way from the Northern part of Ghana or even Obuasi to Winneba all in the name of writing an online exams which has loads of pot holes. Internet connectivity in some parts of Obuasi is very poor and even Vodafone goes off in most areas. Please the management should find a better alternative in grading us so that we can all do this free from chaos.
I am not writing to disrespect anyone’s opinion or condemn the efforts being made by the various schools managements to make it possible for teaching and learning to take place in these odd times. There are many changes in the world along with how students are educated. These changes give us a glimpse into the future of education. And I am confident that E-learning will be part of our educational system even after this pandemic.
I am therefore appealing to our educational leaders to take care in rolling out these systems into our education. Doing this in such a hurry will only produce shabby results and at the end of the day the students will suffer for it.