University Education And COVID-19

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Whereas the dire outlook of the COVID-19 pandemic should be treated as an impending national emergency knowing that Nigeria is lagging in the international efforts to develop an effective vaccine against this infection, and knowing also that the awuf route of eventual cheap vaccine importation to be subsidised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is all but shut, the federal government of Nigeria considers it at the present time a “smart move” to rubbish the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) by “virtaulising” university education with inducements, threats, and coercion to striking lecturers.

ASUU’s demand are basically “contra-virtualisation:” adequate classrooms, equipped laboratory spaces, enough and airy office spaces for university instructors, vistas for practical demonstrations for students, etc. All these require funding injection into the university system at a cost that would be relatively miniscule in relation to the national budget. But, no, the government is having none of it.

Why is this so? Now, the federal government thinks the best way to circumvent ASUU’s demands is to inaugurate “online teaching” in full gear and throttle, recruit compliant hands through the flawed IPPIS platform, and bamboozle the general public that “all is well” with tertiary education.

As I recall, Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president, has sent four of his brood to universities in England to complete their tertiary education since he was sworn in as the head honcho to continue to fix all sectors of our national life, including tertiary education. Talk of a “masses-loving man of spartan disposition.”

––Sunday Adole Jonah, Department of Physics, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State