In an exclusive interview with Channels Television during its Sunrise Daily Programme on Tuesday July 7, 2020, the Vice Chancellor of Wesley University discussed issues on Learning plans, Safety Measures on re-opening of schools.
This paper captures a summary of his disclosures on the issue of Federal Government considerations on re-opening of schools.
Consideration on Re-opening of schools
The Vice-Chancellor stated that the Universities, especially private universities were ready for resumption but observed that re-opening was subject to regulation and directive by the Federal Government since no university can re-open except the Government gives a go ahead.
Government Directive on Re-opening
The Vice-Chancellor confirmed that the directive of Government was that universities should make internal arrangements for re-opening. He stated that Vice Chancellors of Universities would be meeting with the Ministry of Education to discuss further on the issue.
Measures to Ensure Safety of Students
Safety measures being put in place to ensure that parents feel safe and comfortable to allow students return to school, the Vice-Chancellor disclosed that Wesley University Management had to challenge the Information Technology team, and they have developed Learning Management System (LMS) for learning, so that a student can take his lectures from any part of the campus or even from home, so that there won’t be crowding in the classroom, even though we don’t have challenge of classrooms. Again, the University constituted a committee of health professionals that had come up with things that we would be doing as students and staff return, so that everybody will be safe. He explained that there were things that can’t be implemented immediately but there were also things for immediate action like ensuring social distancing for staff coming to work and that will be the same with students. We put in place sanitary health materials to maintain hygiene in order not to contract or transfer to any other person.
Consideration on Physical and online teaching
The Vice-Chancellor explained that Wesley University’s Learning Management System (LMS) was a unique one because, we also teach the Deaf and Hard- of- Hearing students. So we made it in a way that both staff and students will be effectively engaged and our Deaf and Hard- of- Hearing students will not lose out. That is why we had to make it a home grown LMS, so that it will serve all these purposes. The sense in it is that unless it is a practical class, people can take lectures from library, rooms, laboratories and classroom.
LMS and Full Engagement of Students
The Wesley University Learning Management System has factored in issues on concentration and attention span of students to ensure that students are fully engaged and there would be full interaction. In this regard, while lectures are going on, assignments will be given, and anyone who does not turn in his own on time loses out. There will be document sharing on LMS, there will be ‘on- the- spot tests’ and all these will be timed. So with all these, the students would be fully engaged as well as staff. There will be full interaction.
Issues on Network Reception and Internet Connectivity
As far as Wesley University is concerned, there is a mast in the school and the network of major service providers; MTN and GLO are very strong. I don’t think you are having any disruption as you are talking with me, that is an indication that we have strong internet that can support what we are doing.
Why should schools re-open now?
Why I think it is important to re-open now is because “the idle mind is the devils workshop”. As students remain at home, they can begin to hatch evils and we are already tired and bored by the wave of crimes that is in the society. If they are left at home and engage in crime, it may develop into something else that we may not be able to manage.
Opinion on COVID-19 Effect on Re-opening of Schools
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control may have the final say, as they advise the Government on what is happening and again, we should not forget that the youth are not vulnerable to COVID- 19. Most of them survive it. It is the aged that are most vulnerable to it. I am not saying it is a must we open now, but I am just giving reasons why it is necessary we open schools now.