The Visible Effects of Remote Learning

by Christine Ochoro

  "Screenshot 2022-03-04 at 13.43.01" by Avi Richards .

Development MSc student Christine Ochoro believes that through increased remote programs and hybrid approaches, just as she has experienced at Kent, we can embrace inclusion and give a greater number of disadvantaged people opportunities and a deeper sense of work – life balance.

The invisible hand did not quite have visible effects in developing nations. In imperfect markets struggling with unaccounted things like poverty and corruption, policies needed to be curtailed to best fit these contexts. This is what differentiates development economics as a deviation from mainstream analysis of economic concepts to finding sustainable solutions for the ever-growing gap between developed and developing nations. As a development economics student at Kent University, in-depth thought-provoking discussions on the pitfalls curtailing development are a norm during class seminars which consistently affirms some of my reasons for study and benefits gained.

Generally, remote learning is considered ballsy given the level of commitment and intrinsic drive demanded. I argue that it’s about finding supportive structures for students and having work that allows flexy schedules. This is the exact support I received from Kent University, right from the recruitment to execution of classes and assessments. I remember having a discussion with the director of graduate studies, Dr Andrey Launov, on my strained budget due to long-term illness of a family member and he was quick to ensure I had my fee payment schedule broken down in amounts that were feasible for me to handle.

I speak as a representation of other voices that I am certain have been gracious enough to experience student support throughout their learning experience at the university. The hybrid approach that the school embraced due to the pandemic enabled students like me who couldn’t fully afford moving on campus, to be integrated and interact with lecturers and students as if they were physically present in school. Being able to attend class has allowed for mutual sharing of ideas and recent relevant facts that further instils understanding of different topics, a good example being; during our Sustainable Economic Growth and Environmental Valuation class we were discussing ways in which government policies can aid environmental protection and I was able to share a recent initiative by the government of Thailand to close their Maya Bay for three years so as restore the damaged ecosystem, which provoked a general discussion among students on the topic and hence enhanced further enlightenment.

In a way, the motivation behind remote learning and development economics are alike given the deviation to embrace relevant solutions for unique challenges such as an unforeseen pandemic which didn’t stop learning as institutions shifted to online studies. It is without doubt that mastering in a subject has substantial benefits, from gaining refined perspectives on areas of interest and increasing technical skills on topics such as international trade – as is my case. I strongly believe, by embracing inclusion through increased remote programs and hybrid approaches, greater number of disadvantaged people benefit and gain a deeper sense of work – life balance.

In conclusion, it is all about personal commitment, creating accommodative systems and the individual goals we challenge ourselves to achieve. Mine is a deep understanding that what defines me is the need to better myself in order to contribute to significant changes that can address the poverty trap of developing countries.

Christine Ochoro is studying for an MSc in Development Economics.