The Academic Staff Union of Universities has given reasons why online teaching cannot commence in Nigeria as directed by the Minister for Education, Adamu Adamu, amidst the Coronavirus lockdown in the country.
Adamu had on April 3 directed all universities, polytechnics and colleges of education to activate virtual learning environment to enable students continue studies through digital devices.
But ASUU in a statement said the minister was ignorant as e-learning was not same as computer vending and supplies.
The statement reads:
“The minister needs to understand that e-learning is not the same as computer vending and supplies. It is not as simple as computerisation, supplying of computers and accessories, or simply connecting institutions to the Internet.
“The production of power points slides and accessing MOOCS of overseas university is not e-learning.
“Online learning is a type of e-learning that depends entirely on Internet-based resources and support system. It requires certain behavioural changes and regulatory adjustments in order to make it work for the learner.
It cannot be established by mere ministerial directive and bureaucratic fiat but through careful and detailed planning, funding and training by those involved. None of these have been done in Nigeria.
“There is no Nigerian university today that is operating any form or model of e-learning because of poor Internet access, high bandwidth costs and irregular power supply. On what infrastructure does the minister expect the online delivery to run?
“Online learning depends critically on an effective library system, with online resources and seamless access from across the globe.
“No Nigerian library, including the National Library has a semblance of a kindergarten library in serious countries.
“There is no single university in Nigeria today that operates a mix-mode system. This is when students have option to take courses online or face to face.
“To seek to transit therefore to online delivery will amount to taking a plunge. We believe that as usual, contractors have cornered the government and have seen a business opportunity. While civil servants are once more using COVID-19 as a reason to defraud government.
“The Nigerian university system had been defrauded for many years by federal agencies who dump substandard computers in universities from time to time at the end of the year to justify last minute plundering of national resources in the name of supporting e-learning.”h