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ASUU insists on not returning to classes, speaks on alternative learning

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities, on Tuesday, insisted that Nigerian universities in the country are not ready to re-open at the moment.

The Union said it finds it difficult to return to classes in the middle of a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Recall that the National Universities Commission (NUC) had earlier directed the lecturers to go back to classes on January 18, 2021.

But ASUU is demanding that the Nigerian Government should review the decision owing to the increase in COVID-19 cases around the country.

“Our concern is rooted in the safety of our members,” ASUU’s National President, Biodun Ogunyemi, told Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday.

“What happens to congested hostels, crowded classrooms? What flexible arrangements are in place? It is a situation of emergency. I’m not sure the Universities can cope,” he said.

When asked if e-learning was an option for universities, the ASUU President said the necessary infrastructure was not in place.

“We are aware that some universities are putting measures in place, with alternative learning models,” he said, adding “some are even trying blended classes, virtual and physical.

“But these efforts are limited. They get to a point they can’t go further.

“ASUU has been talking about revitalisation since 2012. These are some of the areas where the assistance would have helped. Universities need huge funds to do this.

“People are saying start virtual classes, but more than 60 percent of our students will run into trouble – they can’t afford data or smartphones.”

ASUU had on Wednesday December 23, 2020 called off its ten-month-old industrial action.

The prolonged strike was due to Federal Government’s delay in meeting the agreements reached with the union.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported 1244 new cases of COVID-19 infections in the country..

NCDC reported that the country now has a total of 1,361 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Nigeria now has over 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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