Students clamour for resumption amid COVID-19 pandemic
• Pledge to follow safety measures
Following the gradual ease of lockdown in the three states of Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where the total lockdown was initially implemented, students of tertiary institutions across the country are clamouring to go back to the classrooms, saying they will observe the safety guidelines.
The students, who alleged that the virtual learning system adopted by most of the institutions is not working effectively, lamented poor internet connectivity, lack of electricity, high tariff of data as the major challenges. Not only that, a lot of students said they cannot access the internet as some of them don’t own a smartphone.
They regretted that the leadership of the country is not looking inward in tackling the COVID-19 challenges, wondering when Nigerian government would learn to develop and depend on its home-grown solutions rather than foreign or imported policies.
Insisting that returning to classrooms is the best option considering that the e-learning system is not working as expected, they suggested that the Federal and State Governments should create a special task force that will monitor schools and students to ensure compliance to the safety measures, instead of closing schools.
Speaking with The Guardian, a student of Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, Owolabi Ibrahim, said, “How can government instruct schools to switch to e-learning without adequate provision made?
We are tired of staying home idle, I think the institutions’ managers can implore the government to make provision for items like face masks, hand sanitisers, soaps and fumigation of all institutions across the country.
They cannot just ask us to stay at home without doing anything. It is better to direct all higher institutions to reopen, because the lockdown is not working. Despite the stay at home order, the cases keep increasing. So, I will urge the Federal Government to take the necessary measures that was taken during the Ebola virus outbreak by providing health facilities and materials to various institutions to keep the spread at bay. Such provisions including fumigation of all institutions across the country; provisions of sanitisers, and other necessary health facilities, will go a long way. Also, I believe many institutions will come up with solutions to curb the spread of the virus in campuses.”
Affirming Ibrahim’s claims, Adanlawo Favour, a student of Ekiti State University (EKSU), said, “We are tired of staying at home doing nothing. E-learning is helping, yes, but it is not working for everybody. Some of us that want to use the opportunity to engage in skill acquisition, the Federal government ordered hairdressers, tailors and barbing salons to lock up. An idle mind they say is the devil’s workshop, we are tired of home, and government should reopen schools.”
For Akande Opeyemi, a student of Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, although government directed schools to switch to e-learning, it cannot be compared to the conventional style of learning.
“If government directs all institutions to resume academic activities, I can assure you that we (students) will follow the rules of social distancing and other safety guidelines. Also they should work out the lecture period and timetable according to a particular number of students due to students’ population.