Challenges and Interventions of eLearning for Underresourced Students amid Covid-19 Lockdown: A Case of a Zambian Public University

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

Abstract

This article reports the challenges of eLearning 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 eLearning 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 eLearning 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 eLearning. Findings further showed that the sampled university made efforts to mitigate the challenges faced by students  during eLearning 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 eLearning regardless  of the circumstances.

Published
2021-11-10
Section
Research Articles

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eISSN: 2307-6267