A university student has lashed out at the lack of concessions made to help students during the hardships they faced in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am a student at the University of Malta (UoM). A student that has had enough of the endless struggle they put us through to get our degrees,” 22-year-old Pia Grech wrote.
Grech, who is reading for a degree in sports, accused the University of Malta of showing complete disregard for students’ pleas for extensions and lighter workloads in the face of the exceptional global situation.
“As University of Malta students, we have passed through the worst semester of our lives.”
“UoM tried to keep everything the same as it was, which only increased workloads as they tried to compensate for missing lectures and practical hours.”
“The result of this is a plethora of assignments and ridiculous three-hour timed exams for high word count essays, with high-quality work expectations.”
“Most faculties have shown a complete disregard to our plea for extensions and are handing out resits to be done in September instead. We have been told that we have ample time to study and work but obviously time is not the only factor that produces good work.”
When comparing the concessions and policies being introduced elsewhere, she said other universities have announced new policies to reflect the circumstances.
For example, universities in the UK announced non-detriment policies, which would mean average grades are protected from falling lower than the previous semester but can increase to safeguard the performance of students.
“What did we get in Malta? Absolutely no protection of our grades”
With extensions for deadlines, she said foreign universities gave the option to extend their “requests for extensions.” In Malta, this system does not exist.
Moreover, some universities avoided online examinations and resorted to testing through assignment-based work.
“In Malta however, some faculties decided to give three-hour timed exams; and due to the open book situation, the word count almost doubled and we are expected to reference and have better quality work than in a normal exam.”
Lastly, in regard to workloads, she said that whilst her international student friends reported a decrease in the amount of work, most faculties in Malta saw a doubling in workload.
“I know of people with 11 assignments and three online exams.”
“Their excuse for everything is ‘but now you have more time to study’ – this is the only reply I get to my complaints.”