Since the closure of schools in Nigeria due to the outbreak of the Corona Virus pandemic, government and some stakeholders have advocated a switch to online learning. They believe online teaching will be the right channel for undergraduate students to acquire knowledge during this period of lockdown.
They argued that the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted so many activities around the globe, should not stop students from acquiring knowledge. Some undergraduates who spoke with The Guardian on the development said tertiary institutions should focus on online learning and find ways of inculcating this in the conventional institutions such that even at the end of the pandemic, students can continue to learn online.
But some students disagreed with the online learning option arguing that such system may promote laziness among lecturers while some of their colleagues will use the medium for frivolities.
Oluwafunmilayo Kolawole, a student from Adeyemi College of Education (ACE) said, ‘’I don’t think the Nigerian system of education is ripe enough to fully start online teaching. Recently, we did online test in my school, you would not believe that I did not see my result and I failed the course just because of this online learning. Secondly, I went for a post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) at Federal University Oye Ekiti (FUOYE) some years ago and on my examination slip, 8am was the commencement time, but I sat for the examination at 8pm while some candidates from a far distance left the venue without writing the examination.
“I have a friend in National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), she had to quit the online lectures just because of the poor network and the rate at which her data burns’’.
While buttressing Kolawole’s claim, Opeyemi Peter from Ekiti State University (EKSU) said her school experimented with something of such but abandoned it midway when it became apparent that they could not meet the expectations, as the challenges were too many.
She said, “My school management tried something of such in my school but in a couple of weeks, it was later abandoned. To me, e-learning will make our lecturers lazy and infact some of the students will use the chance to engage in frivolities such as watching movies, downloading games and internet fraud since they are connected with unlimited data’’
For Suliyat Eletu from Lagos State University (LASU), some schools have commenced virtual learning already while some institutions are just contemplating the idea. However, she noted that online learning could be difficult to achieve in the nation, putting into perspective the nation’s educational system.
Besides, Eletu said most lecturers prefer paper work for even class assignments than sending to their emails, not to talk of having a virtual class where lectures, tests and assignments would be done daily online’’.
But considering the continued spread of COVID-19 and the uncertainty of cure, another undergraduate from Ibadan Polytechnic, Ayomide Owolabi said virtual learning would be the best option at this time.
Owolabi said lectures, tutorials, tests and examinations can be done at one’s comfort zone, though some students may experience difficulties such as low data, lack of electricity, low percentage and not meeting up with time, among others.
An undergraduate student from Lagos State polytechnic (LASPOTECH) said as a country still battling development and where most things are done manually, online classes may not be as effective as expected.
The student cited lack of regular electricity as well as necessary infrastructure including laptops and inadequate data as some of the challenges undergraduates may face.
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