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Naxxar Sixth Form Students’ Online Learning Logistical Nightmares Raised In Parliament

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From a lack of physical space to dodgy WiFi, several students who attend the Giovanni Curmi Higher Secondary School in Naxxar have warned that their hybrid online-physical learning system has turned into a logistical nightmare.

In an effort to reach Education Minister Owen Bonnici’s ears, a student posted a photo of herself attending an online lesson while sitting down on the school gym’s floor because of a sheer lack of space on campus.

“How are us students supposed to carry out lessons when we get kicked out of classes because they have to be used by teachers solely and then miss half the lesson to find another one?” she asked.

Malta’s COVID-19 reopening guidelines for post-secondary schools recommends complementing or entirely replacing physical lessons with online lessons to reduce class sizes and contact on campus.

However, when timetables don’t give much time between online and physical lessons, students have no other choice but to attend school and find space to attend online lessons.

But with no specific location allocated for online lessons, students have been left struggling to find space on campus. Empty classrooms are the ideal solution, but finding one is risky because there’s always a chance that a teacher could walk in and inform students that they need the room to deliver their own online lesson.

Students will then have to waste part of their online lesson trying to find another space, be it the corridor, the gym or some other school area. Moreover, students have reported that sockets are limited and that they aren’t even allowed to charge their devices in the corridor.

Also, WiFi on campus can get so poor that students have had to miss part of their online lessons trying to connect to the grid and some teachers have even had to cancel their online lessons.

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Opposition MP Clyde Puli raised these students’ concerns in Parliament tonight as MPs got their chance to quiz Health Minister Chris Fearne about the COVID-19 crisis but Fearne didn’t respond to this question.

The Education Ministry has said that GCHSS students will, as of this week, be able to use their MySchool app to find out which classrooms are empty and can be used for online learning. It’s encouraging students to download the government’s Covid Alert app in case students who sit down next to them during online lessons test positive for the virus.

With regards the sixth form’s persistent WiFi problems, the Ministry said there’s no broadband concerns but will send an IT expert to assess the situation. Meanwhile, the Ministry will hold discussions with the school’s management on how to improve their operations.

Do you attend GCHSS? How has your experience of their online-physical hybrid learning system been so far? Let us know in the comment section or by contacting us in confidence on [email protected] 

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