The University of Lagos (UNILAG) has commenced its 2019/2020 exams cancelled in the wake of lockdown occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.
However, students are protesting the one-week time frame scheduled for the examination calling on management to give more time.
A circular released on the school’s website showed the new measures put in place by the school for the examination.
In the revised academic calendar, the first semester examination for the 2019/2020 session is scheduled to hold between March 22 and April 30, 2021.
While 100 and 200 level students would take their exams virtually from March 29 to April 7, 300 level students would physical exams from April 8 to 16; 400 to 500 level students would also take their exams physically between April 19 and 24.
Similarly, examination in core courses in the Faculty of Education would be physical and would hold between April 26 and 30.
Students were however divided on the success or otherwise of the Learning Management System (LMS) deployed for online learning.
A 300 level Mass Communication student, who identified himself as Boyo, said with online classes, one can easily learn from the comfort of his home, and not having to rush for classes.
But Josiah, a 400 level student of Systems Engineering, said while the idea of virtual learning is a good one; the school is not adequately prepared for it.
He said: “If we are going online, the school should have put in place measures that would make learning truly virtual. In this case, there was no difference between attending physical and online classes. Students still struggled to join Zoom classes, download course materials and even submit assignments or take tests. The situation is rather pathetic.
“Writing exams using LMS may be even worse, apart from the problem of data subscription, network is a major challenge and one could have problem accessing internet on crucial days, especially during examinations.
Most of us were logged out when writing our exams. What would you say about that? Your data could suddenly run down. Or the network could just be bad because of the weather. So different things could make students not to enjoy online learning in Nigeria where internet is the major problem,” noted Alabi, a 200 Level Philosophy student.
While maintaining anonymity, however, a few lecturers shared their opinions as to how efficient or inefficient this system could be.
“You see, this thing cannot work. We should simply maintain the physical learning while, of course, adhering to COVID-19 protocols of mask-wearing and social distancing. And we are good to go.” A Mass Communication lecturer observed.
“It’s a good that lectures are holding online. Most of us are already getting used to the new normal. I must confess that internet problem is not a Nigerian peculiarity. It is obtainable almost everywhere. I believe the management is working towards ensuring enabling problem-free remote learning. And I believe our students are themselves adapting to the new system. You know, Rome was not built it a day,” a Biomedical Engineering lecturer said.
“Yes, lectures are to hold online. There is nothing we can do. We cannot endanger our lives – nor our students’ – by resuming physical learning. You go everywhere, no social distancing; no masks. And these are not babies. Even the vaccination program is not a certainty of curbing the second-wave outbreak. So a high level of carefulness is needed in deciding whether to go for either the physical or online leaning,” said a Faculty of Education lecturer.
The turns and twists of LMS in conducting tests, submitting assignments, and holding regular lectures have been mounting tensions on the students. With frequented power outage and internet disconnection from internet-service providers, the online-learning platform is generally becoming problematic and pessimistic to students, as well as lecturers.
While UNILAG has unilaterally been observing government protocols on COVID-19 prevention, the students themselves, remaining defiant to succeed at all costs, have momentarily made the nook and cranny of the school their places of abode – with tutorials swirling and swerving on groundhog days.