Students face an uncertain future as Covid-19 rages on

“Covid-19 has changed my life for the worst; I don’t know what my academic future holds,” says 21-year-old Letso Makhurane, an Architecture student in one of the universities in Beijing, China.

Like most students learning abroad, Makhurane was forced to abandon his studies and return home as the Coronavirus wreaked havoc across the world especially in China where he was based.

The novel virus started in Wuhan,  China in 2019, before spreading to the rest of the world.

Speaking to CITE from his home in Bulawayo, Makhurane said he doesn’t know what the future holds for him academically.

“Covid-19 to me started as a joke because when it started it was around December 2019 and we didn’t care much about it until it started spreading,” said Makhurane.

“Around January 2020 we saw that it was becoming a problem and I decided to come back home not knowing that I will be stuck here for a very long time.”

He said his academic future at the moment is unclear as he doesn’t know whether he will be able to return to China to continue with his studies. 

While life is slowly going back to normal in China after emerging from a strict lockdown to contain the spread of the pandemic, other countries, Zimbabwe included are witnessing a worrying increase in Covid-19 cases forcing governments to impose strict lockdown regulations.

This week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa imposed an overnight curfew and other new restrictions to fight off the spread of the virus which has breached the 2000 mark.

Meanwhile, for 26-year-old Nkosiphile Sithole, a Journalism and Media Studies student at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo, the government ban on face to face lectures and the introduction of virtual lectures will take him a long time to get used to.

“I think to say the fact that we can’t go to campus and have those interpersonal communications with our lecturers is one of the most devastating elements to our studies because we need that physical interaction to understand the concepts,” said Sithole.

“The future is not so bright for me at the moment and I may say for the whole world because we don’t know how the world will react to this situation.

“Things will certainly change and some professions will lose their plots or say market because of Artificial Intelligence and emergence of 5G, so the future for me as a Zimbabwean is already bleak because as a country we not yet prepared for life post-Corona pandemic.”

Even though Malcolm Dhlora an Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering student has made peace with the current situation, the shift to online learning has affected him and a lot of his peers.

“The suggested alternative, e-learning, has to a larger extent failed to deliver,” he said.

“I’ve made peace our current situation and constantly findings ways to make life work even in this mess. Fear will only lead us down a path that has no happy ending. But of course, society has been gripped by the fear of poverty, sickness and death,” he said.

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