Speaking in an interview with Lovin Malta, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri proposed that early-morning and late-afternoon lectures at the University be permanently done online. He reasoned that this would reduce the University’s parking problems which have been known to cause issues for many students.
The University of Malta has around 11,500 students. However, the campus itself can only accommodate around 2,000 cars at a time for both students and staff.
While many agree that online lessons are not the ideal form of learning, one cannot deny that they have alleviated the need to drive to and from educational institutions, thus making the typical morning rush to get to school non-existent.
And while this may not be suitable for young children with working parents, it definitely is of convenience to post-secondary and tertiary students.
The proposal has, however, been met with quite some backlash, particularly from a generation of students who are tired of the notion of online learning.
The concept of holding lessons via Zoom or Teams has stripped students of their ability to socialize with peers.
Although Schembri believes that online learning can be integrated into our lives post-pandemic, many students are dead set on the road back to normality.
Perhaps the solution to the parking problem should instead be looked at in terms of transport, rather than online learning. It is well-known that Malta has an issue with traffic.
Many consider public transport to be unreliable, and cycling to be highly unsafe. Since there are no other modes of transport available, people will resort to using their car.
Tackling the issue upfront would perhaps be more suitable than relying on online learning.
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