The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) Professor Charles Igwe has revealed that the university will adopt mixed method of teaching, involving use of classroom and e-learning when students return to campus after the COVID-19 lockdown.
Prof Igwe made the disclosure, Thursday in Nsukka, at a virtual dialogue series organized by the Alliance for African Partnership (AAP), a consortium of African universities and Michigan State University dedicated to promoting partnership among African universities.
Igwe was among the four member panelists selected from the AAP to discuss the “Global and Continental Partnerships and Collaboration in Higher Education Post COVID-19.”
In his presentation, Prof Igwe said that the mixed teaching method would help to decongest classrooms and make it easy for students to adhere to social distance safety rule.
He added that the university would consider turning some of its event halls to emergency classrooms to ensure that combined lectures involving large number of students would hold without violating COVID-19 safety protocol.
Speaking on how to achieve a robust virtual learning environment for students, the Vice-Chancellor said that the university was already into partnership with some telecommunication companies and he hoped to leverage on the partnerships to improve the bandwidth allocated to the institution and data access for the students.
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Igwe said that the University of Nigeria had responded positively to the challenge of COVID-19 pandemic by producing hand sanitizers, face masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline clinicians, adding that “there were many ongoing research interventions from the university which would help broaden the understanding of COVID-19 and its impact on the society.”
On the collaboration between the university and other institutions, the Vice-Chancellor said that the UNN had entered into over 100 collaborations with different universities and would seek further collaborations, especially those that would help the university solve its post-COVID-19 challenges.
Igwe identified managing the student population in classrooms and hostels, upgrading ICT infrastructure for distance learning, addressing issues of data access and affordability, migration of more courses to E-Learning and distance learning platforms and training of staff on new ICT skills, as some of the challenges that COVID-19 pose to African Universities
He said that collaborations among African universities and strategic thinking were critical to solving the common problems brought by the pandemic.
Daily Sun gathered that other members of the panel included: Associate Provost and Dean, Michigan State University, Steven Hanson; Vice Chancellor, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), George Kanyama-Phiri and the Vice Chancellor, University of Arts and Human Sciences of Bamako (ULSHB), Idrissa Traore.
Professor Paul Zeleza, the Vice Chancellor, US International University – Africa, moderated the dialogue that had over 400 participants in attendance.