VC cautions against closing varsities over COVID-19 variant
Vice Chancellor of the faith-based University, Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, Kwara State, Prof. Noah Yusuf, has urged the relevant authorities to brace up for the likely challenges that the new variant of COVID-19, Omicron, might pose to the free flow of academic activities in universities.
In an interview, yesterday, with The Guardian in Ilorin, the don noted that the epidemic should not be a barrier to academic flow if proactive steps are taken, especially technological measures.
Yusuf disclosed that Al-Hikmah did not shut down operations during the last lockdown owing to its vibrant online technologies.
He said: “What we experienced during the last lockdown was a positive response. Because through out this period, we were conducting lectures online and equally wrote examinations same way. The pandemic made us to embrace several innovations. Worthy of mention for record purposes is the increase in the number of students.
“I am humbled to say that for the first time in recent years, the number of 2020/2021 admission of 1,287 surpassed the projection, just as the number of graduates of 1,079, who received their degree certificates in the last convocation, was higher than the previous years. So with another round of ‘Omicron’ ravaging now, authorities of Nigerian universities should not panic, but embrace technology to sustain their systems.”
For him, another important feat was meeting all the requirements for successful accreditation of 22 academic programmes by the Nation Universities Commission (NUC) and the interim status for another one.
He added: “We remember the effects of COVID-19 on all aspects of our lives in 2020, the significance of the accreditation would be understandable. Thus the university now runs over 100 programmes, both at undergraduate, postgraduate and diploma levels. By January 2022, 11 other courses will also be accredited.”