The University of Abuja will continue with academic activities virtually throughout the three-week break ordered by the Nigerian government due to the forthcoming general elections, the university said.
Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Education had earlier ordered all tertiary institutions to shut down and suspend academic activities between 22 February and 14 March, to enable students to exercise their civic responsibility.
The decision was also said to be a part of the efforts to guide against insecurity during the polls.
The presidential poll and elections of the 406 members of the federal parliament are scheduled to hold on Saturday while those for governors and states’ houses of assembly are scheduled to hold on 11th March.
The university, in a statement by its vice-chancellor, Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, a professor, said following the government’s directive, physical academic activities would be suspended on Wednesday but virtual classes would continue during the break.
Mr Na’Allah said the university cannot afford to go on another break or alter its current academic calendar as it is yet to recover from previous academic disruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 and the eight-month strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in 2022.
“Management has decided that the three weeks election break, while students will go home, will not be a break for UniAbuja staff and students,” he said. “Rather, it will be a period that our university will transfer teaching and learning 100 per cent to virtual system using electronic technology to continue the academic process and wherever in the world our students choose to travel to during this break.”
He said the institution’s Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Research (CITR) and the ITMS would help lecturers that have never used the virtual system or have questions on how to do the transition.
But for the ASUU strike in 2020, he said, this would not have been the case for the university during the lockdown.
He said: “Each Centre on its own would also reach out to you on what ways you can choose to do this in a manner that is convenient to each lecturer, i.e, Google platform, WhatsApp, Microsoft team platform, UofA virtual classroom system, etc.
“The Point here is that the University of Abuja wants to make sure that after the three weeks election break which must be enforced, the UofA is not going back in its calendar but move it forward to the logical conclusion of the academic calendar approved by Senate.”
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“The recent decision by the Federal Government to close universities for about 3 weeks is a big blow to the UofA’s efforts to recover from the devastating University calendar which has been a bane of our suffering for some years now,” he said.
“We were working hard towards a return to a time our staff can enjoy their summer break and have two to three months they can relax, travel, do research or embark on anything that pleases their hearts as academic staff.”
Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe
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