WHAT ABOUT US?

HEAR US OUT…

It’s Covid-19 of course, who else is to blame? It invaded, took over, and now it’s running the show. Coronavirus has contradicted everyone’s plans, especially Kenyans who were caught unprepared.We are now left hanging in the balance, hoping for the day we will wake up from this nightmare.

In the name of embracing the new normal, most universities introduced online studies and later on, online exams. Online studies in itself, is a good initiative, its actually great. My question is, is it accessible to everyone? On what grounds was this decision made? Did they even scrutinize the whole situation first?

I mean, let’s call a spade a spade, THIS IS KENYA! Do we really need to be reminded (given the pandemic effects) that most of us have been inconvenienced and therefore struggling to survive? Who doesn’t know for a fact that money circulation is currently scarce?

Listen, I’m homeless as a result of floods, living with my sickly single mom and my siblings who literally depend on me. The effects of COVID-19 hit me directly since I depend on small jobs (vibarua) that are unavailable now. We barely eat twice a day depending on what I can raise. Mind you, I’m a student who’s trying to balance work and school. Funny enough, I’m still expected to study online, how am I supposed to achieve that when am physically drowned, emotionally interrupted, mentally disturbed and financially stuck?

How about me, I reside from the furthest rural area, I can only access 2G, a very weak network. Due to this, my phone can barely receive messages leave alone open the E-learning program. Moreover, I don’t have electricity so I have to walk a few kilometers to charge my phone which definitely is an added expense. Does this mean I don’t deserve to study like others?

I am another victim, It’s not my fault I come from a poor background, is it? I don’t have a smartphone, a laptop or a computer. My unemployed parents depend on farming of which with the new normal scarcely pays. We live from hand to mouth, which is a challenge. Therefore, it makes visiting a cyber Cafe a subsequence. I’m trying my best not to drag behind, but with our current economic times, it’s a challenge to catch up with the online studies.

On my side, I guess I got lucky, I live with my parents and two sisters. I pursue engineering as a course. I possess an iPhone, my own laptop and a home computer. I have a Wi-Fi installation that I can access in the comfort of my room. Gladly, I can’t complain of house chores because I have an amazing house help who is presumably a perfectionist. I eat on schedule and exercise well before tuning in for my online studies. However, online learning has far more disadvantages than merits. Sometimes it’s a major headache before I get connected. Personally, I don’t gather fully as compared to attending classes given that its more of PDFs. As an engineering student, I gather much in practicals than theory, which is not applicable online. Moreover, in zoom approximately 50 out of 300 students attend the classes continuously.

I mean,

Those are my friends, my roommates, my classmates, and students that deserve to learn too.

What did you do instead? You bottled up our complaints by promising us that you’ll provide free bundles, that you’ve partnered with Safaricom and Telkom to offer us unlimited bundles to ensure students remain consistent (which automatically excludes the ones without smartphones and those from areas with a poor network) It all made sense until I realized what was in it for you. The offer was on specifically, for those who can clear fees. You practically planned the whole sequence. Forced online exams, which rely on forced online classes, that’s not accessible without fee clearance. Hello! in case yall forgot, the arrival of the coronavirus is not our fault.

As if the effects of COVID-19 are not enough, some universities still have the audacity to consider fee increment. Clearly, we are facing the hardest economic times now, what do you want our parents to do? This is not the right time to prioritize your personal interests.

Well, a university is a place that has students from different diversities. My point is, you knew we were from different backgrounds before you accepted us into your institutions and I stand corrected. why else are you turning a deaf ear? This is literally a ghost year for all of us. Do you really believe we are learning? Is it not a total strain for nothing?

Okay, let’s just assume it was possible for all of us to access online studies, which is not, how are you planning to accomplish this? I pursue catering, how will you teach me via zoom? What about us in medical science departments, what’s your expectations? Am a journalism student, how am I supposed to pass my online exams without the necessary practical equipment? Then surprisingly, in the near future, you are the same people who’ll chase us out of your offices and tear up our CVs in the name of poor quality degrees. SHAAAAAAME!!!

Probably, right now you are thinking, we are the enemy of progress, we fear to embrace change, we’re too naive to understand, we like complaining or even worse we fear exams. Let’s be realistic for a second, I’m a medicine student, I’ll graduate with an online exam, right? then what? you expect me to perform a successful surgery in future?…………… I thought so.

Thing is, I don’t mind repeating my semester, I’d rather strive for quality knowledge than half baked degrees. That’s exactly why I applied for regular classes, it’s my preferred mode of studies. School is a much favorable environment for studies. We get to focus on one thing at a time. Besides, attending lectures and having one on one interactive classes, helps us to psychologically prepare for exams. Some of us grasp a lot in class as compared to personal studies. Why are you making this hard for us?

Everyone has a right to education and we all deserve a quality education. Let’s face reality, Poverty is a part of us, we belong in a multiplicity society. We have the privileged and the less privileged. So many students have gone through mental torture during this period due to pressure from all directions. Did you consider for a minute, if every student will benefit?……..Its evident you didn’t.

All we request from you is equity, inclusivity and sensitivity. Is that too much to ask?

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18 thoughts on “WHAT ABOUT US?

  1. Finally have read it. I feel so proud of you Okisai. Its really good how you are advocating for the less privileged. Every learning institution should see this so that they can come up with a better way to handle the situation. Though if I was on there shoes I would have done the same heheheeee (sorry for disappointing you kidogo). But sincerely speaking life has to go on. Ama niaje ??

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Some years ago I didn’t have a job and didn’t have internet. So I used to go to the Library of my town to send mail and search for jobs. I live in Italy and many people have internet and many things like pc and videogames. But if you have no job it’s like to be in Kenya. So Italy is not the kingdom of richness, as many people imagine. We made so many sacrifices to fibd a job and to pay a car or to buy food. All depends on having a job. You know english language well so you can apply to work in Canada or US. You have this chance. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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