UNILORIN prepared for 70% virtual teaching – Director

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Authorities of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) have said that 70 per cent of lectures will be done virtually while only 30 per cent will be conducted physically when school resumes academic activities.

Since March, schools across Nigeria have been shut as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking with newsmen in Ilorin, on Monday, the institution’s Director of Academic Planning, Professor Isaac Adimula, said that academic activities would be conducted in such a way that only a minimal number of students will participate in each of such lectures that will be briefly conducted with full adherence to the protocols governing physical interactions in a time like this.

“In preparation for the resumption of academic activities when the threat of the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic subsides, the management of the university has disclosed that it is working towards ensuring that lecturers and students have minimal physical contacts to halt the spread of the infectious disease,” he said.

Professor Adimula said that the plan is to ensure that teaching and laboratory practicals are done virtually.

The Director thanked the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof Sulyman Abdulkareem, for facilitating the release of the sum of N168 million for the provision of campus-wide internet, which, he said, would ensure that 75 per cent of the campus huge territory would have access to clear and easily accessible internet receptions.

He added that this is being done to ensure that students and their lecturers can effortlessly link up to virtual lectures and practical classes anywhere they are on the campus including their halls of residence.

He added that this is being done to prevent the convergence of students in particular locations in search of the internet.

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Adimula also commended the Vice-Chancellor for approving the training of three members of staff in Italy towards the smooth operations of the virtual learning enhancing equipment and systems being erected on the campus.

Explaining the practicability of the reduction of physical contacts in the course of transmission of knowledge on campus, particularly among indigent students, who do not have smart-phone and related hard wares, Adimula disclosed that arrangement has also been concluded to install Smart-Boards of about 70 Centimetre in each of the Lecture Theatres to take care of such categories of students, who, he said, are not even many, to receive lectures as at when due.

While noting that attendance of participants would still be taken to ensure that the maximum percentage of lectures by students is sustained, the Director also disclosed that all the lectures delivered shall thereafter be deposited in the University repository to ensure that students who either needed one clarification or the other or those who missed such lectures have something to fall back to.

The Director, however, expressed the University management’s readiness to welcome its students back on campus for the resumption of academic activities and other related services as soon as the concerned authorities give the directive.

Adimula maintained that the University management was working round the clock to ensure that the University opens its gates to students as soon as the Federal Government issues resumption directives.

Ahead of that, he said that the campuses of the University would continue to be disinfected in order to ensure that the COVID-19 pandemic has no place at the University.

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The Director stated that the University’s Coronavirus Prevention Committee, under the leadership of Dr Adenike Durotoye of the University’s College of Health Sciences, has been on top of the game at ensuring that everything worth doing is done to halt the spread of the disease to all the campuses of the University.

He added that parts of the measures the University has taken are the constant messages being shared with the students of the institution on what they need to do to keep themselves safe and protected against the spread of the disease, saying that the University is confident and assured with the feedback trickling from all-over the country on the status of most of the students.

Adimula also cited the insistence of the authorities of the University, which makes it mandatory for everybody coming to the campus to put on their face mask as one of the measures that have also been put in place to ensure that the spread of the dreaded disease is halted.

He also explained that the University has erected hand-washing facilities in most of the strategic locations on the campuses of the institution, saying that each of the Lecture Theatres is having such a specially-built structure with the full complement of ceaseless running pipe-borne water, liquid soap and sanitiser in preparation for the resumption of academic activities.

Responding to another question, Adimula commended the students of the University for maintaining decorum throughout the challenges posed by the Coronavirus disease, saying that the University administration had not received any untoward information on any of its students since they were sent back home following the outbreak of the disease.

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While he added that on the resumption of academic activities, the University has no plan to test its students for Coronavirus, he said that the University was working round the clock to make an isolation centre available for those who might develop symptoms of the disease as he said that the protocols of social distancing would be observed not only in the Lecture Rooms but in all the Hostels on campus.

The don hinted that all things being equal the challenges associated with the pandemic would not be allowed to negatively affect the enviable stable academic calendar of the University, pointing out that students who applied for one course of study or the other in the University would still be required to pass the University’s Post-UTME Test, which modality is still being worked on.

The professor who is a former Dean of the Faculty of Physical Sciences, thanked the Vice-Chancellor for the opportunity given him to serve as the Head of the institution’s strategic Unit, saying that the Academic Planning Unit, under his leadership, shall leave no stone unturned at ensuring that the University achieves its vision and mission as laid by its founding fathers with maximum quality of staff and minimum resources.

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