The Vice-Chancellor of Pan-Atlantic University, Professor Juan Elegido, has said in spite of the challenges posed by coronavirus pandemic, the university’s achievements demonstrated their character as an institution.
Professor Elegido said this at the institution’s 17th convocation ceremony held last Thursday and Friday at its premises in Lagos.
At the convocation, 14 graduands got B.Sc. in Business Administration; 22 got B.Sc. in Accounting; 13, B.Sc. in Economics; 35, B.Sc. in Mass Communication and 22, B.Sc. in Information Science and Media Studies.
The school also awarded 131 MBAs, 58 M.Sc. in Media and Communication, one M. Phil. in Management and six PhD in Media and Communication and in Management.
According to Elegido, because of COVID-19, “this last session has been like no other before. There have been many problems, but also some very positive things.
“Above all, I would stress that the way in which the different units of the University have met the challenges, which have faced us this year, shows in a striking way our character as an institution.”
He said Pan-Atlantic University overcame the challenges by always acting fast, listened, cared, maintained high professional standard and responded to social needs of the country during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Elegido said: “Immediately after in-person instruction was stopped, online teaching started in all courses.
“Lagos Business School and the Enterprise Development Centre had no special problem doing this, as they had been teaching some programmes online for quite some time.
“For the other schools it was more difficult, but we organised training programmes and two weeks after the Main Campus was vacated, we were already teaching all courses online according to the very same timetable of classes we were following when teaching face-to-face.”
He acknowledged the contribution of students to the quality of online teaching by “tactful and polite, but also specific and forceful” feedback.
“From the beginning, we provided students on full scholarship an allowance of N1,500/week to buy data.
“Then, since early May we stopped that scheme and provided instead 3GB/week of free data to all students.
“Unfortunately, some students were still not able to follow effectively online instruction, because of lack of a conducive environment, suitable devices, power or internet connectivity, or because of personal or family problems.
“As a last option, the Senate made it easy for such students to defer their studies until this pandemic is over.
“We have also reached out to concerned individuals and institutions and we have been provided with a good number of laptops to be made available to students on scholarship who lack them, to enable them to follow online instruction effectively,” he added.
To ensure standard, Pan-Atlantic University, Elegido said, “also distributed instruction materials to our lecturers and organised several training programmes to improve our staff’s knowledge of the relevant software and of the pedagogical issues raised by online instruction.
“Besides, committees were appointed to design and implement online examinations, which was done very successfully.
“Finally, the Careers Department, in collaboration with many partner firms, was able to offer many online internship opportunities to our students.
“Because of this, all students who were supposed to go on internship were able to do so and a majority of them did so online.
“We also tried to do our quota in helping the nation go through this difficult period.
“Immediately after the country went on lockdown, Lagos Business School started offering a series of free webinars to help people and organisations adapt to the new situation in which 33,000 people took part.
“Also, within two weeks of the lockdown, our Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) conducted a COVID-19 impact study on MSMEs in Nigeria, with over 1,650 respondents across the country.
“This study was made public and also served to guide EDC’s subsequent activities, especially its numerous webinars and the free virtual counselling they offered to the many members of their network, who were going through significant business and personal problems.
“EDC has also concentrated during this period on helping their members to access the different grants and interest-free loan schemes, which have become available for them.
“I will not claim that everything was perfect, but I am extremely proud of the way everyone in Pan-Atlantic University (very much including students) have behaved during these trying times.
“By now we are already on our way back to fully working and teach physically on campus and this convocation is an important step in that direction.
“Our current plan is for our students to move back to campus in January and we are working hard to do that in the safest possible way.”