Nigerian Private Universities To Research Into COVID-19
Private Universities in Nigeria have resolved to join the global efforts to conduct research into the COVID-19 pandemic that has continued to ravage the world.
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This decision was reached in an on the on-line meeting of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Private Universities in Nigeria held recently.
According to the Chairman, Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Registrars of Private Universities, Professor Timothy Olagbemiro, Vice-Chancellor, Edwin Clark University, Kiagbodo, Delta State, who disclosed the outcome of the meeting to Nigerian Tribune, stated that relevant resources in the members’ universities across the country would be harnessed to undertake the research for the benefit of the Nigerian populace and the world as a whole.
During the meeting, the Vice-Chancellors noted with satisfaction the commitments of lecturers in private universities nationwide, who have been keeping up academic activities through various on-line platforms for the benefits of students in spite of the pandemic, while the care to maintain adequate academic standards, and ensure all requirements for graduation are adhered to, by all universities were discussed. The committee commended all the universities for ensuring online teaching, and examinations to students, even during this period.
The committee, however, called for the financial support of the Central Bank of Nigeria as palliatives to mitigate the huge economic distress of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operations of Private Universities in Nigeria.
It said the financial assistance is also needed to equip the laboratories, classrooms and offices with advanced technology that will enhance the teaching and learning environment for the staff and students based on the needs of individual Private University. The body also requested for financial assistance, in form of palliative, from TETFund, knowing the huge cost they would incur while preparing their campus for safety when students return to campus after the Government’s lockdown is lifted.
These expenses were not planned for and may be difficult to add to students’ fees, knowing the financial stress parents and guardians must have gone through, as a result of the pervading coronavirus pandemic.
Other issues considered at the meeting include the strategy and facilities for reopening universities after the period of the lockdown to ensure the safety of students on their resumption in compliance with the Federal Government requirements through the Presidential Task Force on COBID-19, as well as the need for regular payment of salaries to encourage lecturers and other workers to remain committed to their duties.
According to the chairman, the Committee has secured a blueprint, which would be circulated to members for compliance, and which would serve as a guide to the National Universities Commission, as a strategy for re-opening, in case NUC calls for such.
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