Monday, 26 February, 2024

New COVID wave leaves students in limbo


By Manjima Dhakal
Kathmandu, Jan. 22: Within a few months after the academic activities had returned to normalcy, the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has again thrown the teaching-learning activities in schools, colleges and universities out of gear.

The government has already decided to shut schools and colleges after the COVID-19 cases started surging. The universities have postponed all the ongoing and scheduled examinations effective from coming Sunday, which is again likely to disturb the academic session of tens of thousands of students.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) decided to close all schools across the country from January 11. Although the government instructed the schools to continue the activities from alternative modes, many schools may not abide by the instruction for various reasons, including lack of equipment to attend online classes for many school students from low-income families or those from remote areas.

Tribhuvan University (TU) and Kathmandu University (KU) had postponed all their examinations of annual and semester systems scheduled to begin from January 23. A meeting of the Examination Control Office held on Thursday decided to postpone the examinations.

Likewise, Purbanchal University and Mid-Western University have also postponed all their examinations for an indefinite period. The two universities stated on Friday that they would conduct the examinations only after the situation returns to normalcy.

Suresh Rai, an LLB first year student of the TU, said the university had published routine of first year examinations from Sunday three years after the admission process had begun. But, unfortunately the examinations have been postponed again, Rai said, adding that the pandemic has made future of millions of students uncertain again.

Shiva Lal Bhusal, Rector of the TU, said that the TU was not supposed to extend the examination for long this time.
He said the TU would reschedule the postponed examinations one or two weeks after the situation improves.
Bhusal asked students to stay in prepared position for the examinations. Regarding the classes of the university, Bhusal further said that the TU had been conducting virtual classes smoothly as conducting in-person classes was impossible amid growing infections.

Likewise, Ganga Malla, a guardian of a five grader student, said that after the closure of school she has a big challenge to connect her child with learning. Malla said though the school had been conducting virtual classes, children were not found attentive in online classes.

Heramba Raj Kandel, headmaster of Vishwo Niketan School, Tripureshwor, said the virtual learning run by the schools could be only a caretaker as many students couldn’t be connected and so learn effectively through this mode. The country will face a bigger loss in learning achievement in coming years due to the pandemic, Kandel said.

Dr. Biddhya Nath Koirala, an educationist, suggested linking students with alternative mode to avoid further losses in their career.
If teachers become active and motivate students to keep on learning, the students may not face more academic losses even during the time of crisis like now, he said.