How are the students of public universities? -Tarek Nijam
All educational institutions have been closed for almost nine months due to the pandemic covid-19. In this closure, online classes are being conducted in full swing in private universities, but only online classes are being conducted in public universities. Preparations are underway to take postponed tests in some of them.
However, the question remains as to how much quality education can be ensured through online exam and classes. Because there is an opportunity to adopt to various unethical means including online examination. As a result, students at the university level can easily go up in the next semester or year, while meritorious students may be deprived of proper evaluation.
In addition, due to online education, a kind of rich-poor, urban-rural, public-private inequality is being created in the field of education. Internet connection is not available in rural areas. Many teachers and most students do not have laptops.
Classes can be taken on many smartphones as an alternative to laptops, but a significant number of students do not have smartphones. In that case, the possibility of poor and needy students in rural and urban areas falling behind in education is possibly increasing.
However, the UGC recently announced that it provides interest-free loans of BDT 8,000 per person to 41,501 indigent students of 39 public universities for the purchase of smartphone.
During the Corona epidemic, apps like Zoom, Google Meet and StreamYard emerged as a very popular medium for taking online classes. People concerned are not interested in using these apps as that are expensive.
Though the students of private universities have been able to make up for the loss of education through online, most of the students have remained out of education. Aren’t the students of poor, destitute and low-income families lagging behind?
At present, regular online class-examinations are being conducted in private universities on the Corona epidemic. So, there is no probability of session jam in private universities.
On the other hand, most of the students in the public universities of the country are poor and middle classes families. Since the arrival of Corona in Bangladesh, the educational activities of public universities have been closed. Public universities did not start online classes from the beginning due to lack of technical and technological advantage, mutual consensus and short-sightedness. Although, currently they are running online classes. There are doubts about the real effectiveness of online education activities, due to the low attendance of students in the class various problems.
Beside classes, universities have a system of compulsory verification of merit like regular assignments, presentations or class tests. The limited assignment is taken by teachers, internet has become a barrier to presentation conducting. Because most of the public university’s students are from the village and now, they are staying in the village as everything is closed.
Although some classroom facilities can be exploited online classes, lab-based learning activities have come to a complete standstill, which is not possible without the physical presence of students.
The class started but UGC did not give any clear instructions about the examination. As a result, the risk of public universities students getting stuck in sessions is very high. The UGC has given various guidelines on private universities, there is no effective guideline for public universities students, which has led to frustration among students.
A friend who was studying in college with me was admitted to a private university in the city in the 2016-17 session and is currently conducting internship. However, I have not been able to complete the first semester of the 4th year after being admitted to the public university in that session. Where private students are running smoothly without session clutter, public students are clinging to session clutter. As a result, inequality is definitely increasing.
Currently online class-exams are being held in different countries of the world, especially at the university level. In order to avoid session jam in public universities of Bangladesh, it is expected that teachers, students and involved authorities will arrange class-examinations in consultation with all, even if social distance is accepted and all obstacles will be removed, it’s our expectation.
The sooner class-examinations can be started in full swing in public universities, the less session jam there will be. Otherwise, session jam in public universities will increase day by day. Even after half a century of independence, session jam in education is by no means desirable.
The Writer is studying in Department of Finance, Student of University of Chittagong.