ASUU ready to embrace e-teaching in Nigerian schools, says President

*Members aware that blended classrooms have become the new normal ─Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU President

*Authorities should muster needed political will, provide interactive and inspiring e-classrooms to achieve success

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Despite the academic body’s initial pronouncements and subsequent position at the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, that e-teaching and learning (electronic) model cannot work in Nigeria, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), in a volte-face of sort has said its members are now prepared to embrace online/virtual mode of teaching in the country.

Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, President of ASUU, in an interview with Nigerian Tribune disclosed that members are aware that blended classrooms have become the new normal particularly in tertiary institutions post-COVID-19.

Ogunyemi said that the academic Union members are warming up for the change as an addition to the usual face-to-face classroom teaching when schools are reopened.

A student applying technological tools for virtual/electronic learning    Photo: Getty Images

Digital teaching is not new to ASUU members as they have been using e-learning mode to engage students and source materials, and had been using other social media devices and platforms for a long time, said President of ASUU.

According to him, members of the Union cannot be afraid to conduct e-teaching and e-learning.

Ogunyemi, however, stated that Nigeria needs to provide e-classrooms that will be interactive and inspiring, adding, there must be necessary things in place for the smooth running of e-classrooms.

“We don’t want students who are supposed to be in class not to be there because of either poor Internet connectivity, lack of data or electricity, and so on.

“Because we all know that many students, especially in public schools, don’t have laptops, or functional android phones let alone having Internet access just because they cannot afford these on their own.

“Some students are also living in places with poor electricity supply and they cannot afford to run generators. So, we want a situation whereby Internet is heavily subsidised. “Students who don’t have money to get some of the equipment on their own must be able to have access to where they can source materials offline or free,” he stressed.

The ASUU President further said that “apart from accessing their studies online, there is also a need to recreate classrooms digitally that every student will be in class at the same time and be given equal attention without distraction of any form.

“We must also have necessary skills and pedagogical orientation to host e-classrooms. There is need for objectives setting, content generation, classroom control, students’ evaluation and so forth.

These are pedagogical skills that go with online/virtual classroom mode to make class very interactive and effective.

“These are the issues that ASUU is saying must be tackled before we can talk of having effective e-learning mode like that of the developed countries and not that ASUU doesn’t want to embrace technology.

He contended that if the stakeholders in the education sector don’t get their bearing right first, “we will ridicule and make a mockery of ourselves and the quality of education.”

According to him, all it takes to achieve all this is for the government at both Federal and state levels to believe in the project and declare a state of emergency in education just as it has done concerning COVID-19 pandemic.

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