ASUU rationalises opposition to re-opening of universities amid COVID-19 pandemic

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities, on Tuesday, argued that Nigerian universities were not ready to re-open amid a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Universities Commission (NUC) had earlier directed universities to resume academic activities on January 18.

But ASUU has called on the federal government to review the decision.

The call was predicated on the continued surge in COVID-19 cases countrywide.

On Monday, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported 1,244 new cases and three more deaths.

“Our concern is rooted in the safety of our members,” ASUU’s National President, Biodun Ogunyemi, said on  Channels Televidion programme- Sunrise Daily.

“What happens to congested hostels, crowded classrooms? What flexible arrangements are in place? It is a situation of emergency. I’m not sure the Universities can cope.
When asked if e-learning was an option for universities, the ASUU President said the necessary infrastructure was not in place.

“We are aware that some universities are putting measures in place, with alternative learning models,” he said.

He stated further: “Some are even trying blended classes, virtual and physical.

“But these efforts are limited. They get to a point they can’t go further.

“ASUU has been talking about revitalisation since 2012. These are some of the areas where the assistance would have helped. Universities need huge funds to do this.

“People are saying start virtual classes, but more than 60 percent of our students will run into trouble – they can’t afford data or smartphones.”

ASUU recently called off a ten-month-old strike over demands related to salary structure and government support for universities.

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