The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kolawole Salako has disclosed that the University is fully prepared to commence a new academic session, having provided the necessary facilities for virtual teaching and learning, and adhering to all the required Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) protocols to ensure the safety of members of staff and students.
Speaking with journalists during a press conference, held in the University, the Vice-Chancellor noted that contrary to the rumour that is being peddled, alleging the unpreparedness of FUNAAB for resumption and its inability to handle virtual teaching and learning, the Vice-Chancellor disclosed that the University is fully set to open for academic activities as approved by the University Senate, adding that it had been working tirelessly to ensure that necessary facilities and equipment, which would enhance quality teaching through online and physical classes, had been put in place. He stated further that necessary measures are already on ground to ensure that students are kept safe and complied with precautionary guidelines.
According to him, “There is a news circulating about the unpreparedness of the University for resumption in view of COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to debunk this and make the truth known because it is sad that the information was circulated by some internal members of the University. One of the efforts of the University is to teach online by making sure that lectures are handled in an advanced way. Currently, we have more than N300 million naira worth of equipment, which can only be found in standard universities and it is sad to know that some people will go around saying there are no facilities or equipment”.
The Vice-Chancellor said that the University has had various experiences with online teaching, stating that the FUNAAB Staff School recently adopted online classes for the teaching of pupils during the lockdown while the FUNAAB Radio was equally engaged to provide on-air classroom lessons for pupils. In furthering the University’s preparedness for resumption, the Vice-Chancellor noted that FUNAAB would be organising Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) solutions for the training of academic staff to get them acquainted with how to properly handle online classes. He stressed that the University has large lecture halls, where students can be taught virtually and making sure that there is social distance among them while new ones are springing up.
On the safety of students, Prof. Salako added that students had been instructed to ensure that they comply with the University’s non-pharmaceutical instructions such as wearing of face masks, washing of hands and the use of sanitisers, among others, stressing that FUNAAB would ensure that all members of staff and students are kept safe and in addition, various offices and halls on campus had been equipped with buckets, running water, hand washing soap and FUNAAB-made sanitisers. The Vice-Chancellor stated that prior to now, the University Management had severally carried out campus-wide fumigation of staff offices, lecture halls and students’ hostels to ensure that everyone is kept safe. He disclosed that the fumigation of students’ hostels against rats, cockroaches and pests had been carried out and rehabilitation done ahead of resumption.
Prof. Salako, however, expressed his disappointment at some union members in the University, who chose to engage themselves in ‘personalised unionism’ by constantly defaming and demarketing the good name of the University, despite all efforts to make things work. “We are dealing with a very dicey situation here because of the instability in the University as a result of various strikes. There is a lot of personalised unionism going on in various universities without thinking of how their actions tend to demarket their institutions. Most times, those who are engaged in this act are known to express their individual interests and not the collective interests of their members or their universities. They impose their views on others. Meanwhile, they are meant to always have a robust discussion before spreading false information that can destroy the system”, he added.
Prof. Salako revealed that the individuals involved in misinformation are not saying the truth regarding FUNAAB’s preparedness for resumption and that the second round of fumigation of the University, including the unions secretariat, were done about two weeks ago. He informed that University Registrar had, on several occasions, issued directives on the needs for all to adhere strictly to the non-pharmaceutical guidelines for the prevention of COVID-19. He stressed that the University, which is bigger than individuals, was not just building, but also equipping. The Vice-Chancellor later took the pressmen on facility tour round the campus, where he further disclosed that in preparation for the resumption, the University had acquired virtual teaching and Internet-ready smart television sets with browsers, which are compatible with android devices.
The Vice-Chancellor disclosed that virtual teaching and learning had come to stay in the modern day as far as education was concerned. He gave his personal experience when he co-supervised a postgraduate student abroad, from Nigeria. The Vice-Chancellor also called for the provision of better infrastructural facilities such as stable electricity for our universities.
Some of the facilities visited are the newly-constructed Academic Building, comprising eight rooms with 50-seater seminar rooms, four 100-seater classroom and two 200-seater classroom that can be used for virtual training and multimedia with professorial offices for lecturers. Others are the newly-constructed laboratories in the College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT) Phase II, which houses the lecture hall that was donated by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for lectures and farm practicals, four 100-seater capacity classes, two big laboratories and two smaller ones for research students and the college library, among others. Facilities inspected also include the newly-constructed Agricultural Laboratory Building, which accommodates several new laboratories and classrooms; newly-constructed hostels; renovated Students’ Union Centre and the new Digital Library.
In addition, the Director, Health Services, Dr. Abiodun Amusan revealed that the University Health Services would do all things possible to enforce COVID-19 rules in collaboration with the Environmental Unit of the University, as he noted that it was no longer tenable for any member of staff or student to use the excuse of non-availability of face masks to flout rules. Dr. Amusan said that ever since the emergence of the novel virus, universities running their academic activities had not reported any fatality. He enjoined all to comply and observe the social distance rules, use their face masks correctly, wash and sanitise their hands regularly and avoid crowded gatherings, stating that FUNAAB would continue to provide an enabling and safe environment for everyone.
The FUNAAB Students’ Union Presi dent, Comrade Michael Oloyede, while appreciating the Vice-Chancellor for his pro-activeness, stated that the University Management had tried in making sure that FUNAAB stands out as the best institution with the massive rehabilitation taking place on campus, stating that students were happy with what they had seen so far. He admonished all to work collectively towards achieving the University’s vision and goals, stating that the honest assessment of the students on the level of preparedness, indicated that FUNAAB was truly ready to resume.