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Masinde Muliro University Students Oppose Online Examination Plan

The novel coronavirus led to halting of learning in all learning institutions in March and with the pandemic still with no cure, the future is bleak. Ways of learning at home have been bundled about since then with even the government’s KICD not proving successful. Universities like Nairobi University are continuing with online examinations although it has to be said that online lessons may not be ongoing successfully. Masinde Muliro wanted to start the same but the University’s students are not supporting it.

Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) had planned to begin online examinations in August but those plans have been halted after complaints by students. Students countrywide do not necessarily live in areas with the good network coverage. This issue is being endured by UoN students who were sent a way of accessing the internet using SIM cards from Internet Service Providers (we will not mention the name of the ISP due to our own blogging policy) that do not have good network coverage even on 2G. MMUST students also put forward similar complaints. Some also claimed they might not be able to afford online learning due to problems caused by the effects of COVID-19.

This was after the university senate decided that online examinations for undergraduate students were to be done from August 24 to September 4, 2020. The deadline for registration for examinations had been set on Friday 14 August 14.

Students have been asked to do training offered by the Institute of ODeL on online tests. Students have claimed that they have not even cleared examination fees largely because of the financial strain COVID-19 has caused even parents.  Buying smartphones, laptops, and tablets is also another sticking point due to how expensive these items are.

“Some of our parents are jobless due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Some of us have not even completed paying school fees as a result. The senate’s decision of sitting for examinations this month is really going to be harsh on us,” said Davy (not his real name) to Teacher.co.ke.

An internal memo from the acting Registrar for Academic Affairs Prof Thoma Sakwa had directed all final year students for either of Degree, Diploma, and Certificate) to sit for examinations. Students who had cleared school fees were to provide personal details necessary to sit for exams including their full names, courses, programme, registration, and mobile phone numbers.

In response to the learners’ concerns, Prof Sakwa said the university had provided Telkom and Telkom SIM cards together with internet bundles to around 16000 students to help them in their preparations.

“We are aware that there are students who live in poor network coverage areas but we are encouraging students to embrace technology,” said Prof Sakwa.

He added that the examination was in response to the uncertainty created by the coronavirus that caused disruption of learning.

In June MMUST administered examinations to Masters and PhD students. “We had 71 students sit for examinations and 216 in Masters programmes. We are doing all we can to support our students.

Prof Sakwa added that there will be special examinations for those who will not be able to register for those examinations. The special examinations will be done later.  

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