It could be recalled that on Tuesday, 14 April, 2020, it was announced at a press briefing held at MoHERST that other tertiary institutions like GTTI, MDI and Gambia College could benefit from the arrangement that University of The Gambia (UTG) had with MoHERST and MoFEA.
This has blossomed minds of some of the lecturers and teachers of the tertiary institutions especially Gambia College as they were very thrilled for the fact that they were the same people of different institutions and most of the College lecturers and students have low income earnings.
However, speaking to some of the lecturers and students of the Gambia College over the facilitated unlimited free online classes, it has come to light that since the announcement was made, both lecturers and students have not been provided with megabytes.
Some, who spoke to The Point and wished to remain anonymous, complained that they do not know the reason why the Gambia College is yet to benefit from the unlimited free online classes.
They challenged the College administration to come out openly and explain to the lecturers and students why the College is yet to benefit from the free unlimited online classes. They said this is due to the fact that the administration promised 500 megabytes to students and it was before Ramadan ended. One month ago and still nothing is provided for students, whereas the lecturers are expecting to be provided with laptop and data card and nothing is given.
However, some lecturers who spoke to The Point and looked very frustrated, said they were instructed to do online lectures and that the college did not provide the resources needed for that. Also, most of the students complained that they cannot download the materials lecturers are sending to them.
One of the lecturers disclosed that some of the students’ comments were that: “they do not have the megabytes to access the lecture materials.” Some don’t have the required smart phones to activate classroom app and meet, while some are faced with poor network connection.”
Another lecturer said “these students and lecturers are the same; though from different institutions, this is very unfair. I think even people in the Gambia College need the unlimited free online classes than others considering the low income level of lecturers and students in the College. Most of the students are from the provinces and of low income families.”
According to them, their general expectations is that the government should liaise with the College administration as soon as possible and tackle the problems in order to provide the same arrangement for the Gambia College to benefit from unlimited free online classes.
The impact of the current situation on students and lecturers is that generally students are bearing the burden of buying megabytes. Most of the students find it very difficult to understand the notes sent by lecturers as most of the lecturers only send notes without going for live streaming to explain the notes to students. Some students generally don’t access these lecture notes at all.
For lecturers, they cannot deliver their lesson effectively, which according to them could lead to poor delivery of lessons and lack of proper understanding by students.