Hyderabad: A study conducted by two professors of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) has found that only 37 per cent of students from the Central university have the facility to access online classes on a regular basis.

The study, conducted by professors Vinod Pavarala and Vasuki Belavadi from the department of communication, also found that 45 per cent of students can access the online classes ‘infrequently’ while 18 per cent said they can’t access the classes at all.

The survey, which had around 2,500 students as respondents, also found that students had several concerns regarding access to digital classes. Around 40 per cent were concerned about ‘reliable connectivity’ while 30 per cent were worried about the ‘costs of data connection’. In addition to this, around 200 students listed ‘unreliable electricity supply’ at their homes as a major concern.

Around 90 per cent of the students own a mobile phone, according to the study, while only about half the respondents said they have access to a laptop. About 90 per cent of the students said they can access the Internet at least some time, with about three-quarters of them doing so by using mobile data.

One of the students who participated in the survey said, “During this lockdown, attending online classes has become a problem. I live in a village that has no proper network but frequent power issues. It is not easy to read PowerPoint presentations, documents, and write assignments on the mobile phone. ”

Other students also pointed out issues such as lack of private space in a small and cramped house, increased screen time, and effect on mental state. The study concluded that a more cautious approach might be needed in adopting online classes for UoH students.

Meanwhile, the university has decided not to include any online inputs in the exam syllabus and has directed its faculty members not to put any added pressure on students by giving assignments and projects with strict deadlines. However, the university maintained that it is not completely doing away with online learning and plans to incorporate it slowly into the curriculum.

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