Education Right

Online education: not remote, but a trap

Students talked about the shortcomings of online education, which re-started after the earthquakes.

While theoretical knowledge creates the basis of education, practice makes theoretical knowledge. If students are not given practical training, theoretical knowledge will not show its effect. At this very step, let’s talk about the cons and shortcomings of online education, which is today’s application, but also the problem.

The state institution has to meet the vital needs of the current society with the sub-institutions (ministries) it creates. In Turkey, these institutions have not fulfilled their duties towards society in recent years. The failures of these institutions, especially those responsible for education, are apparent.

As if these failures weren’t enough, the first victim in the face of any crisis is education, “their field of expertise.” It was a complete fiasco that all educational institutions in the disaster zone were closed, and students were trapped in their homes following the last earthquake disaster. Why is this a fiasco?

Educational institutions are socialisation nests. Every student who is banished from school and sentenced to live in a tent or a container with the family will have social and psychological problems. The school is the perfect place for survivors to forget about earthquake psychology. But with the decision to online education, these vital rights are taken away from us. Instead, we are forced into a prison life.

The situation of university students is worse. They must have a higher education to become an expert in their chosen field. With the online education decision, our higher education rights were usurped. The result of poor quality education is unqualified personnel. While the state should mobilise the opportunities to provide quality education for students, the decisions aim to save the day because the state and government are the same body in the current system.

Students’ tasks should be to learn. But today, anything is imposed on students other than learning. The ones who suffer the most from these impositions are university students. All students complain about these arbitrary practices, which have now even expanded to their personal lives.

“The only advantage of online education is that is no attendance obligation”

Faruk B., who studied at the Department of Mathematics at Dicle University, said that online education did not add much to him.

“It is a complete inequality of opportunity, especially for our friends who do not have the necessary means. I live in the disaster zone. I was economically affected by the earthquake. I am currently living with my family. Unfortunately, we are still in earthquake psychology. I take online classes with this psychology, but it doesn’t help much. Furthermore, the Dicle ALMS application provided by the university for online education does not work well. We are constantly experiencing technical problems. In addition, professors are continually experiencing problems because they are unfamiliar with this system. In other words, we and the teachers are unfamiliar with this system. Also, when problems arise in practice, online learning becomes a trap for us rather than an education. The only plus is that there is no obligation for attendance in online education.”

“I forget my question until I get an answer from the teacher”

Zeynep G., studying at Dicle University Gastronomy Department, lives in Istanbul. Zeynep had to work due to the country’s economic crisis and was removed from the dormitory after switching to online education.

“The Credit and Hostels Institution didn’t grant me a scholarship but a loan to be repaid. Moreover, it is only 1,250 TL. It is impossible to afford to live in a place like Istanbul with this amount of money. At least I stayed in the dormitory when the university was open and had no rent problem. In addition, I could focus more on my lessons because I studied face-to-face. But with the online education decision, I was rushed out of the dorm. Due to economic problems, I am currently working in the fast-food sector. Even though my daily working time is eight hours, my whole day is wasted because I work between 12:00 and 20:00 due to the shift system. That’s why I can’t attend online classes live. Instead, I watch as much as I can later. When I watch it later, I ask the subject that I do not understand to the teacher of the relevant course via e-mail. I get the answer in 3-4 days. Until the answer comes, I even forget what I asked about because of the pace of business life. In face-to-face education, we could ask questions because the lessons were interactive. But at the moment, I cannot attend the classes because I am working. Therefore, I can’t understand most of the lessons. So online education is nothing but harm to students.”

“Even in times of disaster, there is corruption and favouritism!”

Mehmet, a third-year Dicle University Faculty of Medicine student, lives in Diyarbakır. His family and Mehmet were severely affected by the earthquake. Their houses are moderately damaged, and they cannot stay at home. Therefore, they remain as guests with different relatives as much as possible. Saying that the government could not address the earthquake disaster well, Mehmet explained his experiences during these harsh times as follows:

“Earthquakes are expected, natural events. But natural events become disasters when a country is not governed by merit. In this disaster, the current government failed to coordinate the crisis well. Many people died. Those who left are gone; the ones who suffer the most are those who survived. While our pain was fresh, we had a shelter problem. Many people’s houses have been damaged, and we cannot enter those houses due to fear. Some go to a relative if they have one, rent a place in a different city if they can afford it, or go to their summer house. Those who cannot afford it stay in tents and containers.

“There is also the government’s fiasco to open the dormitories to earthquake victims. Our house was affected by the earthquake. According to the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, it was sealed due to moderate damage. Of course, we cannot enter the house because we fear. We stay with our relatives as conditions allow. But my relatives’ psychology was also affected by the earthquake; moreover, we are a big family. That’s why we wanted to go to the dormitories allocated for earthquake sufferers in Diyarbakır. When we went to the dormitory, the first thing that caught my attention was the people staying in the dormitories and their cars. Most were middle-class people. In other words, I could not see anyone from the poor neighbourhoods of Diyarbakır. When I told the dormitory staff we wanted to stay here, they told me to apply to the district governor’s office. I could not understand such a procedure. After all, we had a document showing that our house was moderately damaged, and we could not enter our home. They were supposed to accept us directly. I took my paper and went to the district governor’s office. I applied to the relevant department when I arrived at the district governor’s office. When I went there, I understood why people from the slums were not taken into the dormitory. People like us, living in the lower economic status, were waiting in line at the district governor’s office holding the documents of their damaged houses. All they want is a place to shelter. But it seems that the government had gone to class division even here. I got in line and submitted my application in three hours. “We’ll get back to you,” they said and sent me. But it’s been a month and no words. In other words, according to the government, we were not taken into the dorm because we were in the lower class socially or not civil servants. We said that even in disaster situations, there is corruption and favouritism! The rulers of this city are not from this geography anyway. All of them are some sort of executives imported from western Turkey. That’s why we left out.”

Is there a government that polarises its own society and looks after the interests of its adherents, even in disasters? While our suffering is fresh, and according to official data (!), nearly 60 thousand of our people have passed away, a self-centred management mentality persists. What we live through will not go down in history only as a mere disaster, but also the times we are ashamed of.

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