A normal day for me starts around 7am. I wake up, help out with a few chores and eat breakfast. There is a baby here at home so most of the time I am with him because there is always something that needs to be done and I would rather be babysit than water the garden. There are also two young kids here, one is 7 and the other one is 4. They’re always fighting. By 10am I’m both mentally and physically tired from trying to break their fights. It’s messy and I can only take in so much of their nonsense and deal with the pending assignments and research papers.
Online lectures usually start around 12pm. For some reason my university lied to the rest of the world that we had covered 80% of our courses. To think there is a course where the lecturer only showed up twice and this includes the day he wanted us to install Photoshop.
Anyway, the lectures are being conducted on WhatsApp because that is the cheapest option for everyone. It may seem cheap but 12% of the class does not own a smartphone so they cannot attend these lectures. Sad right? Well it gets worse. When the lecture starts I have a baby by my side. How do I even explain that I’m attending a lecture on WhatsApp? It’s hard to actually focus when there are messages coming in because people can see me online and not responding to their messages. Some even end up calling – disturbing me during my lecture. The attendance is never above 70%. Like I mentioned, it’s hard to leave your chores and attend a WhatsApp lecture and not all parents are understanding. As much as I try to explain that I need two hours to myself, the kids never listen and one just runs in screaming my name of top of their lungs or worse – crying. It’s frustrating.
This is the digital age they want us to embrace. As much as I am a bit impressed by the efforts of Zimbabweans to implement E-learning, there are so many factors working against it and here are the ones that affect me the most:
- There are kids at home – I can barely study during the day and I have to wait until everyone is asleep so that I can actually catch up. My study hour is 10pm – 00:00 then 00:30 to 2am then I sleep till 7 because chores have to be done.
- Magetsi acho. Zimbabwe has a serious load shedding problem and the whole world knows that.
- WiFi and Data is expensive. I can not afford the Data needed to attend zoom lectures. It’s so expensive here in Zim. What’s the point of having a lecture for rich students only. Where is the equality? No one is considering the students who came from poor backgrounds and are in university because of well wishers.
- My laptop died and I know so many students that did not have laptops but had to depend on the school’s resources to finish of assignments. How does one even type a whole test/assignment on their phone?
- Not everyone comes from a healthy home. Toxic families exist and that makes it even harder to focus.
- This is a global pandemic – everyone is suffering from anxiety over the whole situation. Nobody got the mental capacity to be processing design rules and cognitive models.
Now imagine the points that will be raised by someone in a situation that is worse than mine. The authorities won’t even listen to us students and the elite kids won’t join forces with the rest in addressing this issue. We were told point blank that if we do not attend these lectures we’ll have to repeat. I am one year away from graduating.
I guess it’s safe to say that life is indeed unfair.