ASUU strike: UNIABUJA migrates to virtual classroom with 5,000 students

•Backlog of 14,307 certificates ready for collection

Following the unending strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the authorities of the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA) have migrated to a virtual classroom with more than 5,000 students already receiving lectures from adjunct staff.

Vice-Chancellor UNIABUJA, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah who made this known while addressing newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja, said COVID-19 pandemic made the university to make use of its in-house skills and resources to develop a virtual classroom system.

He said more than 5,000 students have been receiving virtual lectures with adjunct lecturers, because of the ongoing industrial action embarked upon by ASUU.

Na’Allah, also revealed at the event that the backlog of certificates of 14,307 students who graduated from various programmes running in the university from 1994 till date, was now ready for collection.

While lamenting the effect of the pandemic lockdown and consequential shutdown of academic activities nationwide for over seven months, the Vice-Chancellor, said the University had to develop an effective and trustworthy virtual teaching system for its students, to ensure the process of teaching and learning was not disrupted currently and in the future.

“We have conducted several pilot studies from April/May this year and I am happy to announce that the UNIABUJA virtual classroom system has piloted several courses taught mainly by our adjunct lecturers because we know that our respected academic staff are on strike and are having continued engagements with the federal government.

“Close to 5,000 students of our university are taking courses through our University of Abuja virtual classroom system and we are very proud of that.

“What it means is that if there is a need and if there is any reason that the entire students of this University have to go home or do anything, this university is ready and fully prepared to conduct all its courses virtually with everything that it takes.”

He added that a policy was being developed to ensure all academic staff teaches at least one or two courses virtually, once the strike was called off and normalcy returns to the university.

“We are in an electronic age and the more we run away from electronic technology, the closer we come to it, this is the experience the Coronavirus has taught us. UniAbuja virtual classroom system is strong, capable, efficient, effective and it’s interactive.”

On the backlog of certificates that are ready for collection, the VC appealed to the affected graduates who for one reason or the other were unable to collect their certificates over the years, should endeavour to make the sacrifices of coming from far or near to obtain their certificates.

In his words: “This university has finished producing, signing and ready for collection, certificate of all those who have graduated from this university from 1994 up to 2019.

“If you have not collected your results please come to this university your certificates are ready. Forever and ever this will never happen again in this university that people graduate and certificates are not given. This is a leading university and only the best happens in UNIABUJA.”

Na’Allah who further disclosed that arrangements were in top gear to introduce three new faculties; faculties of Mass Communication, Pharmacy and Environmental Science, added that some courses such as tourism and hospitality, agricultural engineering would also be introduced to further bring wealth to the country.

Furthermore, he said besides the N1billion grant received from Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) to facilitate research on governance and leadership, another N5 billion was received from the Fund to facilitate more infrastructural development including the construction of a new Senate building, fencing of the institution amongst others.

“In the last one year, the university has received enormous grants from within Nigeria and internationally into millions of dollars in virtually all the faculties.

“The university itself has been supported by TETFund, we have received a grant of N5 billion which also goes into infrastructure and several additional money that goes into changing the face of our university.”

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