With the rising incidence of the spread of COVID-19 infection, lecturers, parents and students have expressed fears and anxieties considering the directive of the National Universities Commission (NUC) that all public universities should resume on January 18.
In lieu of this, they have cautioned the federal government and NUC in particular against directing all public universities to resume without putting in place adequate measures to curb the spread of the spread of COVID-19 in the university communities.
A 300-level student of Ekiti State University (EKSU), Abiodun Ajetomobi while fielding questions from newsmen stated that he was no longer anxious to resume school due to the second wave of COVID-19 infection.
“In truth, I am afraid as much as I am eager to complete my programme. The pandemic is claiming more lives by the day. The chance of surviving is very low, especially with poor healthcare facilities” Ajetomobi said
“The world is going virtual now. The federal government can adopt virtual learning. There is nothing wrong about it. If the authorities insist on resumption, adequate preventive measures should be put in place to avoid unnecessary loss of life,” Ajetomobi added.
Similarly, a 100-level student of University of Lagos (UNILAG), Deborah Akinola said she would be excited to resume school if only measures are put in place to curtail the spread of covid-19.
“If the authorities cannot guarantee right measures, there is no reason for resumption. I am satisfied with virtual learning. The authorities must consider safety of lecturers, students and other staff members first and foremost.
“If public universities must resume, it must be limited to a fraction of students, especially those in terminal classes after stringent conditions must have been institutionalised,” Deborah said.
Also a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan, Dr. Johnson Idowu observed that after the ASUU strike, both lecturers and students want to resume.
“In its wisdom, ASUU called off strike on December 23. The second wave of COVID-19 started in January 2021. If ASUU had not suspended the strike, the federal government would hide under COVID-19 and would not pay lecturers.
“But now, the federal government has no option not to pay lecturers. Every lecturer is also a parent. They will resume. But if they cannot observe COVID-19 protocols strictly, they have to go back again” The lecturer stated
He admitted that virtual learning would have been an alternative to physical learning, though doubted the capacity of the tertiary institution to teach or train students virtually considering the way Nigerian universities are ill-equipped with instructural materials
“Power is not stable. Has the federal government come with communication strategies that will enable virtual learning. Even most private universities that are using it are not deploying the way they ought to. Parents are complaining about the amount of money they are paying as tuition fees,” Idowu explained.