A leading organisation which focuses on capacity building and human capital development of principal officers of higher education, Executive Trainers Limited, has highlighted strategies for coping with the challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bringing this to the fore, the organisation, in a discourse held virtually, Tuesday, with 31 delegates in the attendance, said such forum is pivotal to the development of tertiary education.
Themed COVID-19: Risks, Opportunities, and Coping Strategies for Higher Education in Nigeria, the free training was declared open by the Chief Executive Officer of Executive Trainers Limited, Mrs Ajoke Ogunsan, who emphasised the crux of the event, while pledging that the organisation will continue to do its best to ensure the growth of higher education in the country and beyond.
The guest speaker, Oko Obona, a professor of Sociology, University of Ibadan, draws from his experience on his current portfolio as a member of the African Union Scientific and Research Innovation Council working group on COVID-19 and the scientific committee of the NCDC’s research consortium.
Two critical issues were outlined which were the measures required to prevent the spread of the pandemic with specific reference to the higher educational context and the pandemic management preparedness which includes the systemic challenges posed with reference to infrastructure and the hybridised models for transmitting information to students.
Obono, however, recommended “looping” as a method of taking a survey to capture statistics of people, undergraduates and graduates. He stressed on regulatory checks to sustain physical distancing and downplayed the case definition syntax approach as it only applies to the Western world. He advised on flexibility of lecture schedules and delivering of classwork and assignments.
The university don added that “to reduce physical distancing of students, free WiFi should be provided and students encouraged to acquire devices to access the internet easily.”
On a contributory note, one of the participants, Professor Babatola Ayodele, stressed that all universities be re-packaged to accommodate for e-learning. He mentioned a plethora of challenges posed to resumption of higher institutions of learning, arguing that there are no signs of readiness to resume during the post-COVID era.
Questions and more contributions were passed via chat from some attendees, including Dr (Mrs) Bukola Aluko, Professor Matthew Aluko, Professor Joseph Afolayan, Mrs Ike Moody and Mrs Wunmi Owaseye.
The next Edition is bid to hold in a month’s’ time, as organisers say the event has now turned a monthly affair.