By Henry Odeh
Private universities in Nigeria under the aegis of the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Private Universities (CVCPU) have appealed to the National Universities Commission (NUC) to make a strong case to the government to allow private universities reopen for on-campus learning and teaching.
According to the letter made available to journalists in Ibadan by the Vice Chancellor, Lead City University, Ibadan, Prof. Kabiru Adeyemo, the Chairman, Committee of Vice Chancellors and Registrars of Private Universities in Nigeria, Prof. Professor Timothy Olagbemiro, was quoted to have made this call in the letter written to the National Universities Commission (NUC).
The private universities warned that serious distortion and damage, in relation to academic calendar and resource base, await institutions, should the closure of universities be prolonged beyond the next one month.
The CVCPU said: “In compliance with the National Universities Commission’s (NUC) Directive of 20 March, 2020, our private Universities sent their students home. Since then, with the encouragement from the Federal Government, we have maintained some form of online academic activities with these students so as not to irredeemably truncate their progress. We have also resolved to mobilise relevant resources in our Universities across the country to undertake research that addresses the challenges of the pandemic for the wider benefit of the Nigerian populace and the world as a whole.
“We are pleased to have proactively and productively engaged with the complexities and complications arising from the pandemic in the last three months of closure. However, we have noticed with a heightened sense of trepidation that serious distortion and damage, in relation to academic calendar and resource base, await our institutions, should the closure of Universities be prolonged beyond the next one month. Ultimately, the preparation of our students for a productive future may be compromised and this will not augur well for a country that is still grappling with employment challenges for its graduates.
“Considering the ample capacities in most of our hostels and classrooms, along with other facilities, the CVCPU decided to develop a comprehensive plan that can enable our Universities to reopen and operate safely within the ambit of the COVID-19 Protocols as enunciated by the Government.
“The central elements of this plan include Advisory to Parents, Institutional Initiatives, Resumption Modalities, Fumigation, Hand Washing, Hostel Facilities and Cafeterias and In-campus Transportation.
“With this plan now completed, as contained in the attachment, we deem it absolutely necessary now to submit it to the NUC; and, with a high sense of responsibility, request your good office to make a strong case with the Government to allow our Universities reopen for on-campus delivery of teaching and learning within the next one month.
“We are confident that, with your dynamic attention to a healthy and quality university system in Nigeria, you would consider our request with the seriousness and timeliness that it deserves”.