Saturday, September 18, 2021

“E-learning the only solution to Covid-19 in tertiary institutions’’- Lecturers

 Blessed Chauke

Lecturers in most tertiary institutions in Masvingo have voiced their concern over the recent increase in cases of Covid-19 at the institutions of higher learning as they feel e-learning is the only way to go.

After the declaration of Morgenster Teachers’ College as a Covid-19 hotspot on June 12, lecturers have suggested that e-learning is the best way to arrest the surge. 

Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) lecturer Dr Khensani Madlome (African Languages) said government has to avail e- learning resources to students as a way of encouraging it in the face of the recent outbreaks.

“E-learning is the best way to curb the spread of Covid-19 in higher learning institutions hence government should avail funds and e-learning resources to avoid overcrowding in colleges and universities.

“Because of volumes of people moving and mixing in colleges, the risk of spreading the virus is very high,” Dr Madlome said.

Dr Ester Rutoro a lecturer at Reformed Church University concurred with agreed with Dr Madlome and said e-learning will surely reduce the risk of future Covid-19 outbreaks at campuses.

“In the face of Covid-19 infections cases rising at higher education institutions, e –learning can be a very effective measure against future occurrences.

“There are a number of factors that encourage the rapid spread of the virus at colleges and universities. There is congestion in the limited facilities that are at hand, looking at the ever rising student populations such as in libraries, ablution facilities, halls and canteens.

“E-learning is a strategy that can effectively decongest the limited available facilities. It is also the fact that higher education students come from all corners of the country some of which have already been declared Covid-19 hotspots,” said Rutoro.

She added that government should enforce compliance to Covid-19 restriction measures in the said institutions to ensure that all students and staff are tested for Covid-19 before they enter into institutions at the beginning of the term or semester.

A lecturer from Midlands State University (MSU) (who requested anonymity) said e – learning is the best way if both students and lectures are provided with materials to use.

“E- Learning is the way to go if both students and lecturers are provided materials to work with. We are using WhatsApp which is cheaper but not ideal instead of zoom or Google classroom. 

“Students need to see or hear the lecturer’s voice to be convinced that they are learning. The government should provide grants for students, equip lecturers with requisite skills of handling lectures online and enforce colleges and universities to hold workshops and seminars for online lectures,” the lecturer said.

One GZU Master of Arts in Religion student Tinashe Mugoyana said although e- learning reduces the chances of spreading the virus, it has its challenges.

“E-learning reduces the chances of spreading the virus although it has got its challenges.

“The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare should roll out more vaccination and more awareness campaigns,” said Mugoyana.

Government has since declared several districts around the country Covid-19 hotspots, which include Mhangura, Chinhoyi and Chidamoyo (Mashonaland West) Chiredzi, Masvingo District, Nkulumane, Emakhandeni and Northern Suburbs (Bulawayo) and Mt Darwin (Mashonaland Central).

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