NUL VC, SRC cross swords over e-learning

‘MAPALO NKHELOANE

MASERU – Online learning, as an alternative to formal classes, has caused havoc at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) after students complained the proposed way of doing it does not accommodate all of them. Schools across the country are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak forcing most schools, especially tertiary institutions, to resort to online learning.

The e-learning initiative has however proved problematic and almost impossible for some students. Central to the students’ concerns is that the matter is rather imposed on them as they say management, through the university’s Vice Chancellor Professor Kananelo Mosito, had failed to listen to their concerns dismissing these as mere excuses.

The students have all been advised to buy Econet sim cards as Econet will be the only network provider used for online learning at NUL. But through their SRC President, Reatlehile Makateng, some students said their mobile devices only accept Vodacom sim cards and cannot accommodate sim cards from a different network provider.

Makateng this poses a great challenge since the majority of students use such phones due to their affordability and they do not have access to any other devices.

On top of that it emerged some students come from places where there is no electricity and network, while others are even out of the country.

Addressing the SRC President’s concerns, Professor Mosito said: “Mr Makateng, studying is the choice for individual students, it is not an SU (corporate) issue. You have no business to get into that as the SRC. The plane is taking off today. They have a choice to board it or remain because they have no R5 to buy an Econet SIM card.

“This is notwithstanding that they got their allowances last week. Students are advised to buy Econet SIM cards if they want to study. The university shall not be drawn into those cheap unfuturistic students’ politics.

“If they do not feel like buying the R5 Econet SIM cards, it is their own choice not to want to go to school. It is a matter for the individual students to choose not to study Mr Pres.

“You can take a horse to stream but you cannot make him drink. The lack of electricity issue is a matter for government being able to provide it, not for the university. It is a problem that affects the entire nation but you and I know that students have charging banks and gadgets which help them charge their phones.”

As it stands, the online learning is likely to leave behind and exclude those with the above mentioned obstacles.

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