The Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, (FUNAAB), has said it would resume academic activities on January 18, in compliance with the directives of the Federal Government.
The Vice Chancellor, Felix Salako, made this known while addressing a press conference on Tuesday, in Abeokuta, after the ASUU Chair in the institution, Adebayo Oni, had said the university was not ready to cope with the challenges posed by COVID-19.
Mr Oni had earlier said in an interview that conducting physical lectures with students would be disastrous, but Mr Salako maintained that the university was quite ready to resume full activities as measures had been put in place, including COVID-19 protocols as stipulated by the Federal Government.
He said it was mischievous and political for any lecturer to go to the media to say that the university was not ready for academic activities, adding that it was a personal decision of the lecturer to think that the school could not resume full academic activities.
Mr Salako disclosed that the school had undergone fumigation more than 10 times since March 2020, just as there had been massive infrastructural rehabilitation.
He added that the management had been producing its own hand sanitisers, as well as procuring hand-washing basins and soaps needed to keep the students and members of staff safe from contracting the virus.
The vice chancellor also said the university would be running what he described as “hybrid” teaching, a mix of physical and virtual learning, while no fewer than 150 solar panels had been installed in some of the buildings, to provide alternative sources of electricity and facilitate the planned hybrid system of learning delivery.
“The virtual learning will take care of large classes, like the part one students, but for fewer classes, we have large halls to accommodate the students”, he said.
On the issue of pending admission of new students, Mr Salako said they had two sets but would only admit the first set, to resume in September.
Mr Salako took journalists on tour of some of the newly completed and rehabilitated buildings that had been equipped with latest technological gadgets to aid virtual teaching and learning.
Also speaking, the Student’s Union president, Abiodun Oloyede, who passed a vote of confidence on the VC, expressed gratitude to the management for putting in place everything to ensure a smooth academic session.
He, however, noted that not all the students would be able to access the virtual learning component, either because of network constraints or their locations.Meantime, the FG through the Ministry of Education, Monday, said it was reviewing the January 18 resumption date for all schools in the country considering the surging cases of COVID-19.
Speaking on Tuesday, ASUU National President, Biodun. Ogunyemi, advised the FG to review its stance on the Jan 18 date.
Mr Ogunyemi, while on a Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, said ”our concern is rooted in the safety of our members.”
”What happens to congested hostels, crowded classrooms? What flexible arrangements are in place? It is a situation of emergency. I am not sure the universities can cope,” he said.
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