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Students struggling with online learning

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“As such, it is difficult to confirm that the academic year could be saved.”

File image. Picture: AP

THE PROBLEMS faced by students have escalated since the lockdown, according to Tshwane South Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college SRC president general Zandile Moloi.

She was addressing an online conversation on how students had been coping with online learning during this time.

Moloi said students had been facing a number of challenges, and some continued with contact learning while others battled.

“As such, it is difficult to confirm that the academic year could be saved,” Moloi said.

Business management students were writing their internal exams, while final exams were scheduled for next month.

“It would be difficult to say whether the academic year can be saved. For us, an academic year can be a semester or a trimester,” Moloi said.

Project leader at Youth Capital, Kristal Duncan-Williams, who was part of the conversation, shared data of their survey around online learning.

“The majority of people that responded to the survey were those from universities, probably because they were actually supplied with data and devices.

“College students had less access; so we didn’t get much response from them through our survey, which suggests that they had minimal support,” Duncan-Williams said.

What they found surprising was that most of the students had at least received National Student Financial Aid Scheme allowances, while only 25% of respondents said they received data.

Students said they could not access assignments because of slow network connection, and even zero-rated websites often did not work.

She said mobile networks really needed to come to the party because as big players they needed to do their part to fix the problem.

Moloi suggested that colleges introduce blended learning to provide students with options so that they can choose what worked best for them.