In light of the rapid shift to digital services during the Covid-19 outbreak, the Zimbabwe National Students (ZINASU) has urged the government to ensure access to quality and affordable internet for all students.
The call comes after the government through the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development said students will conduct this year’s semester exams online – google classroom.
The students have voiced their concern over lack of resources to access the internet during the current Covid-19 environment.
In dismissing the initiative, the students said the move is elitist and will only benefit those with capital grace, adding that the government should pay for the data bundles to achieve the goal.
“We would like to register our deepest disapproval to this elitist move that is meant to disenfranchise the poor of us who happen to constitute the majority of the students’ community we object to online examinations.
“A lot of students simply do not have the gadgets to enable them to access the said google classrooms for purposes of examinations. It would be a great injustice to deny them of their deserved right to sit for exams to end a semester they equally paid for, on account of poverty and a pandemic none of us invited,” reads the letter.
“We believe it is within the capacity of your office to ensure that access to affordable education is not eroded simply by half-hearted attempts to save the calendar while excluding the majority of the students from the process.”
“Find means to allow students to physically finish their semester as did some classes before the reintroduction of the stricter lockdown at the end of July 2020 ensure that online learning platforms are accessible at a zero rate.”
“Provide data bundles to students as per their promises in May for purposes of revision come up with an arrangement that allows students to access gadgets like tablets, phones and laptops through a loan facility that is payable over a long period of time.”
Considering the cost of data being charged by mobile network operators, access to Google classroom will definitely be expensive for many students.
Due to COVID19 pandemic schools were closed in March to curb the spread, students had to resort to online learning.