Students Suffer In The Dark Amid The Abrupt Return Of Load Shedding

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Over the last few days, load shedding has made an abrupt return. Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter has shared that part of the reason for these power cuts has been to enable the preservation of power for election day and the days to follow, during which the votes are to be counted. But in attempting to preserve political interest, what of the students whose online learning experience has grown significantly tougher as a result?

 


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The public have continued to scrutinize the political campaigns that have struck up in light of the upcoming South African Municipal Elections, with the public accusing politicians of being insincere during their seemingly last-stitch attempts to serve municipalities during the build-up towards elections.

Nonetheless, whatever the motives behind the recent pick-up in community projects by politicians, the acknowledgement by Eskom CEO that the recent loadshedding is partly due to an attempt to preserve energy for the election is one of the more concerning effects of election planning.

Online learning has already contributed to students’ inability to fully commit to their studies due to connectivity issues and lack of access to data. Now that exam season is fast approaching, the abrupt load shedding has only made the pursuit of study that much tougher.

One such example of the detrimental effects of the return of load shedding comes on the evening of the 28th of October, when students at a UCT residence were warned  that the electricity was going to be cut off between 20:00 that evening and 08:00 the next morning. 

Excluding about 6-8 hours dedicated to rest, that power outage resulted in about 4-6 hours without light, with shoddy internet service and an inability to charge technological devices. Time that could have gone towards studying and completing online school tasks.

The government’s prioritisation of the Elections has inadvertently affected students’ learning capabilities negatively, something of which remains out of students’ hands.

Student organisations have issued formal complaints and there has been public outrage online as a result, and many have said that it is issues such as this one, that they will consider when hitting the polls on the 1st of November.

 


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