Challenges and Interventions of E‑learning for Underresourced Students amid Covid‑19 Lockdown: A Case of a Zambian Public University

Authors

  • Charity L.M. Kombe
  • Dingase E. Mtonga

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.24085/jsaa.v9i1.1426

Keywords:

Covid‑19 lockdown, e‑learning, interventions, under-resourced students, university, Zambia

Abstract

This article reports the challenges of e‑learning faced by under-resourced students in a Zambian public university during the 2020 Covid‑19 lockdown. The article further examines the interventions made by the university to mitigate the challenges of e‑learning faced by under-resourced students. The article is based on empirical data derived from an online closed- and open-ended questionnaire completed by 73 under-resourced students, and an interview with two university staff. The quantitative and qualitative data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis respectively. The article provides evidence that under-resourced students encountered various challenges related to e‑learning categorised under the following interlinked themes: technical, environmental, psychological, sociocultural, financial, and material. Lack of ICT facilities/devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets and desktops), internet, electricity, and support systems were the most critical barriers to e‑learning. Findings further showed that the sampled university made efforts to mitigate the challenges faced by students during e‑learning amid the 2020 Covid‑19 lockdown. However, there were no focused interventions to specifically address the actual challenges under-resourced students encountered. Regrettably, this suggests that the needs of under-resourced students were overlooked. Thus, the authors suggest strategies universities should put in place to uphold the participation of all students during e‑learning regardless of the circumstances. 

 

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Published

2021-06-17