Universiti Malaya students today questioned a recent government study cited by the higher education minister showing that over 78% of tertiary-level students have not been stressed about conducting their studies online in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
In a statement, the Universiti Malaya Students’ Union said little has been made known about the substance of the research.
“What was the methodology used to arrive at such a conclusion? Who were the respondents? Were they students conducting online classes in residential colleges on campus or were they students studying from home?
“Were they students from B40 families who are struggling amid the pandemic or were they the more privileged?
“Was the sample size of 24,562 students sufficient to represent all of us? Would construing the research data as a whole yield other forms of interpretation? We simply cannot arrive at a conclusion unless such a report is published for public viewing and scrutiny,” the union said.
Noraini had referred to the study conducted by the Higher Education Department and the Malaysian Qualifications Agency in the Dewan Rakyat on Sept 20.
The student union said even if the research findings showed that 78.4% of university students were not stressed, “the balance of percentage shows that there are students who are indeed stressed”.
It said a contingency plan and policies should be implemented as quickly as possible to alleviate the situation for affected students.
It cited “multiple suicide cases” among university students since the e-learning method was adopted, adding that those who lack the appropriate digital devices and stable internet connection continue to struggle with their classes.
It also referred to accommodation issues, giving the example of intern students in the Klang Valley who have yet to complete their internships but are being evicted from their residential colleges to make room for freshmen students.
“They have less than a month to relocate and may not necessarily have the financial capability to afford rent,” the union said.
“Has accommodating the new students become more important than accommodating those senior year students who are in immediate need of being on campus due to the nature of a subject or intern work?”