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There seem to be dilemma at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, (FUNAAB) over the resumption to full academics having been on lockdown due to Corona Virus.
The Vice-Chancellor Prof. Felix Salako and the Chairman Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), FUNAAB chapter, Dr. Adebayo Oni differed on opinions as regards resumption.
While Salako said that it would resume academic activities on Jan. 18, in compliance with the directives of the Federal Government, Oni insisted that the institution shows no sign of readiness to resume.
It all started when Oni in adding his voice to other comrades under ASUU said holding physical lectures will be disastrous at a moment when the country is battling covid-19 second wave.
Oni in an interview said the said the university was not ready to cope with COVID-19 challenges.
“The lectures halls are overcrowded. As of today, in my own campus, I have not seen any facility for hand washing. Who is to provide sanitisers? Do you expect lecturers to provide sanitisers for themselves?
“Fumigation of the environment from time to time should be done, how do you cope with students surge and the challenge of power supply?” Oni claimed.
On the recorded covid-19 figures, Oni said “It is definitely a threat to the resumption of academic activities. The fact is that under this circumstance and looking at the threat of the figure, going physical with students would be more disastrous. Conducting physical session, physical lectures with students would be more disastrous.
“The truth of the matter is that we now propose a mixed model of online teaching and probably some level of physical teachings. Even the online teaching also comes with its own facilities which are not readily available.
“We don’t want to be pessimistic to say that it is not going to be workable. However, it is going to be at the risk of our lives and the lives of our students if the required facilities are not provided by the government.
“The truth is that the facilities to cope with the pandemic are not available in our institutions. It appears the government is not ready and our institutions are not helpful.”
Oni who hinted that some academic activities were postponed due to the server that was down as a result of lack of power supply also claimed there was no water supply in the institution as at the time of speaking with press.
In a swift reaction a day after, the Vice-Chancellor at a press conference said it was mischievous and political for any lecturer to go to the media to say that the university was not ready for academic activities, adding that it was a personal decision of the lecturer to think that the school could not resume full academic activities
Salako maintained that the university was quite ready to resume full activities as measures had been put in place, including COVID-19 protocols as stipulated by the Federal Government.
As against Oni’s stand, Salako said the school had undergone fumigation more than 10 times since March 2020, just as there had been massive infrastructural rehabilitation.
He added that the management had been producing its own hand sanitisers, as well as procuring hand-washing basins and soaps needed to keep the students and members of staff safe from contracting the virus.
The vice-chancellor also said the university would be running what he described as “hybrid” teaching, a mix of physical and virtual learning, while no fewer than 150 solar panels had been installed in some of the buildings, to provide alternative sources of electricity and facilitate the planned hybrid system of learning delivery.
“The virtual learning will take care of large classes, like the part one students, but for fewer classes, we have large halls to accommodate the students”, he said.
On the issue of pending admission of new students, Salako said they had two sets but would only admit the first set, to resume in September.
He however failed to disclose reasons for the absence of power and water supply on campus.
In a similar stand, the Student’s Union President, Abiodun Oloyede, who passed a vote of confidence on the VC, expressed gratitude to the management for putting in place everything to ensure a smooth academic session.
He noted that not all the students would be able to access the virtual learning component, either because of network constraints or their locations.
Findings by PLATFORM TIMES showed that some students have since been receiving online lectures while there was no information as regards resumption on Monday.
While the institution remains beclouded in uncertainties, the federal government has given the approval that schools across the country can resume on Monday 18th January, 2021.