April 30, 2020

COVID 19: Embrace virtual classroom now, UNIOSUN VC urges academics

Osun State University, Osogbo campus,UNIOSUN

By Shina Abubakar, Osogbo

Osun State University, Osogbo campus,UNIOSUN

THE Vice-Chancellor, Osun State University, Prof. Labode Popoola, has said there is no other time to commence virtual classroom in tertiary institutions than now, urging the academic staff of universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education to embrace virtual teaching across the country.

Prof. Popoola made this statement during an online interactive session with the academic staff of Osun State University on setting a new agenda for the realities that COVID-19 pandemic will have on the educational sector and most importantly navigating through the realities.

He stressed the need for stakeholders in the education sector to cooperate with policy makers to create new opportunities to propel the sector for global competitiveness.

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According to him, the challenge posed by the outbreak of the deadly virus on all facets of life globally further challenges the status of universities in the country as research institutions capable of providing solutions to societal problems.

He added: “The world woke up in the last quarter of the year 2019 to a so-called Wuhan flu. Unexpectedly, it has turned out to be a global pandemic, catching the best economies, best medical systems, and best technologies unawares. The pandemic is indeed an enormous shock to local and global governance. However, a New World Order has been imposed on humanity, and it is a reality that will not change. The question is, where do we, as universities stand in the context of the emerging realities? How do we prove our societal relevance, if any? How do we justify society’s investment on us? There are still many more questions, which we have to provide answers for.

“In the coming days, weeks, months, and years, we will have to completely adjust our ways, attitudes, and practices, else, we will sink. There is an urgent need to revolutionize our teaching and learning. Gladly, we at UNIOSUN had commenced this process before COVID 19 came knocking, and I am delighted about the enthusiasm generated by all members of the UNIOSUN family.

“In view of this, I hereby challenge my colleagues in other institutions to ponder on these statements at this critical time: What will be our role in understanding and helping to disseminate best practices to our students and the diverse publics?

“The time has come for a permanent shift in behaviour regarding professional and other travels; for example, moving from one campus to teach in another. We need to use this as an opportunity to build our capacities in online teaching programmes. The possibilities are limitless and it is only for us to explore. This will demand a shift in mindset, taking ownership, readiness for stewardship, and accountability.

“We are not unmindful of the daunting challenges, but our calling teaches us to be undaunted. Rest assured that the system with roll-out its support within the limited resources available to ensure that all goes well.”