Dissatisfaction among students at the GCHSS sixth form in Naxxar rose sharply during the months schools were forced to close down due to COVID-19, a survey has shown.
Lecturers Alan Pulis and Mario Azzopardi conducted a survey among 505 students last July, just over a third of the sixth form’s student body, in July to assess students’ experiences of the sudden shift to fully online learning.
The results were quite indicative.
Overall satisfaction with their school dipped from 50.3% pre-COVID-19 to 35.6% among first years, while dissatisfaction rose from 6.2% to 14%. It was even more pronounced among second years, where overall satisfaction dropped from 55.3% to 28.6% and overall dissatisfaction shot up from 4% to 24.7%.
Asked how much their lecturers engaged with them during the quasi-lockdown period, 64% of first years and 55% of second years said they engaged with them a lot or enough. However, 33% of first years and 41% of second years said they engaged with them too little or not at all.
Live online lessons were ranked as the best means of communication, chosen by 51% of first years and 45.7% of second years, but only 24.5% of first years and 15.1% of second year students said that most or all of their teachers engaged with them through live lessons while schools were closed.
Some 3.3% of first years and 21.1% of second years said none of their teachers provided live online lessons.
Asked how many assignments they were given during lockdown, the difference between first and second years was staggering.
While 46.4% of first years and 2.5% of second years said they were given more work than usual in all subjects, 41.7% of second years and 3.9% of second years said they were given less work than usual across the board.
Meanwhile, 35.7% of second years and 11.4% of first years said they only spent around an hour a day online for study purposes during lockdown.
Only 11.5% of second years said they spent five hours or more online for study purposes, compared with 46.1% of first years.
Asked for their favourite education model, the one most commonly listed was 100% physical learning, chosen by 38.2% of first years and 31.2% of second years.
While the majority of students (53.6% of first years and 63.3% of second years) backed some form of hybrid model between physical and online learning, the approval rate dipped consistently the more online hours were added. Only 5.9% of first years and 2% of second years backed full online lessons.
In a separate survey conducted among 101 GCHSS educators, 47.5% of respondents said their pedagogical training didn’t include any training in online learning whatsoever. For 72.3% of educators, the COVID-19-induced lockdown was their first experience of teaching online.
This surveys were conducted in July, when Malta was experiencing some form of post-COVID-19 utopia after managing to reduce the number of active cases down to single digits. However, COVID-19 cases have surged since then and there are now almost 2,000 active cases.
What do you make of these findings?