By Ismaeel Uthman
As the Coronavirus pandemic bites harder, forcing the perpetual closure of schools across the country, government-owned tertiary institutions in the State of Osun have devised mechanisms to engaging their students and ensure partial academic activities.
While some institutions have adopted and begun online classes for their students, others are yet to find their foot in exploring Information Communication Technology for academic advancement in the face of the ravaging COVID-19.
Findings by OSUN DEFENDER have revealed that some of the state-owned tertiary institutions have been making progress in the online academic and non-academic activities, even as some others are in the process of kick-starting the programme.
However, Osun State University is setting the pace in the online academic programme for its students.
UNIOSUN had in May this year started online matriculation for the 2019/2020 academic session, becoming the first university to do such.
The institution is also on the verge of conducting an online convocation, according to the Public Relations Officer of the university, Mr. Ademola Adesoji.
Adesoji, in an interview with OSUN DEFENDER said: “We are committed to the fulfilment of our mission of creating a unique institution, committed to the pursuit of academic innovation, skill-based training, and a tradition of excellence in teaching, research, and community service, even during this COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
“During the lockdown, we continued the normal teaching activity virtually, conducted virtual matriculation, virtual assessment and now we are currently working on a virtual convocation ceremony.
“Instead of complaining, we are always ahead proffering solutions and this is why we have over the last six months deployed series of success-driven techniques that have continued to yield positive results as evident in our numerous achievements”.
The Osun State Polytechnic, Iree has also started menial online classes for a section of students of the institution.
Mr. Tope Abiola, the Media Relations Officer of the polytechnic told OSUN DEFENDER that the institution had commenced online revision for the students who were about to start their examinations before COVID-19 outbreak.
Abiola said: “In the month of May, the management of the institution trained staff members on the usage of technology for the online lectures. After the workshop, we started with few classes because we were at the verge of conducting examinations when school was shut. What we are doing now is a kind of revision.
“Apart from that, as a technology-based institution that is more involved in practical than theories, there are some courses that cannot be taught online. That is the difference between us and universities. But the little we can do from the theoretical aspects, we are doing our best as well as revision on what we had taught them in the past. The categories of students we are engaging online are National Diploma II.”
Also, Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke has also begun online classes for its students who were undergoing Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) before the pandemic broke out.
The affected students, according to Dr. Wale Oyekanmi, Director, Media, Protocol and Public Relations of the institution, were unable to write their examinations after completing SIWES because of the Coronavirus.
Oyekanmi explained that the online classes, which were holding via a WhatsApp platform, were only for the SIWES students at the time, who should have written their National Diploma II First Semester examinations.
He said: “We have started the online classes and it is mainly for those students who were on SIWES and could not write the exams before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. We have been holding lectures for them online. Such students are those offering Engineering, Environmental and other related courses. They have been receiving online lectures and I think the lecturers are even concluding. They will begin their exams immediately the school resumes.
“The online lectures started in May during the COVID-19 lockdown. We have been using WhatsApp platforms. They receive a minimum of five lectures in a week. The major challenge recorded on the online class has been poor network and internet facilities.”
Oyekanmi said the participation of the students has so far been encouraging, saying that most of them recorded over 80% class attendance.
He submitted that the institution might conduct online examinations for the students if the closure of the school persists.
However, the two colleges of education owned by the state government have not commenced online academic activities.
The Registrar of Osun State College of Education, Ila Orangun, Mr. Aderinola Adeoti said the institution was in the process of starting online academic programme.
Adeoti, in a telephone interview explained that the management of the institution was building a website to host online classes, adding that lecturers of the institution had also been undergoing training.
Speaking with OSUN DEFENDER, the Public Relations Officer of Osun State College of Education, Ilesa, Mr Segun Ojolo said the institution was just considering online classes, saying that the institution was waiting for a proposal from the ICT department.