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Pro-chancellors urge FG to reopen private varsities

FUOYE VC urges institutions to embrace ICT, distance learning amid COVID-19

The Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Private Universities (CPCPU) has appealed to the Federal Government to reopen the country’s 78 private universities shut alongside other educational institutions in Nigeria amid COVID-19 within the next one month.

A statement by the Head of Corporate Services of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Mr. Tunde Olofintila, said the demand was contained in the communiqué issued by the CPCPU at the end of its emergency virtual meeting of July 25, 2020.

The CPCPU, in the communique, said that private universities were ready to reopen having put in place all the necessary requirements and protocols specified by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to ensure a safe and secure campus.

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The pro-chancellors said that the plea became more imperative because private universities in the country had made sustained efforts to comply with the guidelines for the reopening as detailed in its template submitted through the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) to the Federal Government.

In another development, the Vice-Chancellor of Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), Prof. Kayode Soremekun, has urged Nigerian universities to embrace the use of digital technology and distance learning to teach students in response to the closure of schools amid COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that tertiary institutions in the country were faced with the challenge of COVID-19, which necessitated thinking in the direction of digital technology and distance learning.

Soremekun, who described the virtual learning as the “new normal,” said that the old learning method was no longer realistic in view of the virus pandemic that has kept students out of schools for several months.

The VC spoke at the 2019/2020 virtual matriculation of 7,500 students held at the university’s auditorium amid strict compliance to COVID-19 protocol.

He said that FUOYE had been very proactive in the areas of ICT and distance learning prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, adding that institution would ensure delivery in the areas of teaching, research and management of statutory meetings

“We have to embrace the new way of learning in the area of digital technology. This is the way to go now and in the nearest future.

“Distance learning through digital technology is our next destination. I must tell you that we have been very proactive in this regard because prior to now, we have put in place distance learning programmes. We have a consultant, Prof. Olagbemiro Jegede who has put us ahead in this new normal of learning.

“COVID-19 is the challenge of our times and this university, which by the grace of God I am privilege to lead, will not shirk its responsibilities. Rather, we will brace up to the occasion by deploying technology to deliver university’s functions and mandates under this new normal,” he said.

Soremekun, therefore, warned the newly-matriculated students to face their studies squarely because university education is not for laggards and indolent persons, saying that out of 41,000 that applied for admission to FUOYE, only 7,500 got admission.

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