Students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) will commence their second semester examinations today. They are, however, lamenting the abnormality of the academic session.
Since December 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected education worldwide – and many schools are still recovering from its effects.
The effects have especially been hard on students of UNILAG who had to leave their various hostels on July 14, in the middle of the second semester because some members of staff and students contracted pandemic.
The university resumed for the first semester of the 2019/2020 academic session on January 25, 2021 and held only online classes. The examinations were also fully online.
Contrarily, for the second semester, the university resumed physically on May 17, but stipulated virtual lectures for classes larger than 50. However, barely two months after resumption, the University Senate sent students out of the hostels on July 14, because of scare of spread of the Delta variant of the COVID-19.
Last week, the university announced that the 2019/2020 second semester examination would commence physically today and end on September 26.
Campus Life monitored the school environment in the last two weeks during which some students recounted bitterly some challenges they have faced as a result of the disrupted academic calendar.
For Ayomide Jonathan, a 200- Level Accounting student, the prolonged academic session was making him lose interest in education.
“I cannot even make concrete plans for my life because the school calendar keeps on disrupting it and I am beginning to look like I am not serious with my life. It has affected me a lot. A single session has been running from 2019 up till now. When will we move to the next level?
“Now, I am beginning to lose interest in the school and education system. If I had started learning a vocation since 2019, I would almost be through with my apprenticeship,” Ayomide said.
If Ayomide was losing interest, Ige Omolara, a 300-Level student, said she considered quitting because of the discouraging situation.
“The setback is drastic. When we resumed 300-Level in January 2020, little did we know that we would be stuck in that session for two years. It all started with the outbreak of the pandemic.We left school around March, while the lecturers were planning virtual learning; ASUU strike began ridding us of the entire year. We are still in that one session, and I’m losing interest in school, if not because I am in year three second semester, I would have considered quitting. I am in class of ’21; we ought to sign out this year but here we are still in 300-Level,” she said.
Adewumi Tope, a public administration student tagged the delayed session as “frustrating” as it deprived him of some of the things he ought to be doing aside schooling.
“The fact that we are wasting a whole lot of time on a session is disturbing and frustrating as well. I can’t even concentrate on my other plans outside school because of the instability of the school currently. It is really frustrating seeing other students in other institutions progressing with their academics and we are just here and confused,” he said.
For most of the semester, the students had their classes online – a situation many did not enjoy.
Tope Adewunmi of Public Administration, said online classes were expensive and dissatisfactory because of poor network.
“As for the virtual lectures, it is not really the best because in Nigeria, the network is not good. Secondly, data subscription money is too much and data quickly finishes these days,” he said.
A Master’s student simply called Niran said he gave up on his programme because the online classes fell short.
He said: “One lecturer held his phone up with one hand and wrote on a sheet with another and asked us if we could see what he was writing. When we said no, he said, ‘look, you people are disturbing me o! that is how I have been teaching other classes’. I just signed myself out of the programme at the point.”
As the students began examinations today, they lamented that they did not have enough classes.
Oluwasetemi Akinseinde said that online classes were insufficient for him to be adequately prepared for the examination. He said it could never be compared to physical classes because studying at home is not effective considering the distractions at home.
“I am virtually not ready for the examination. Number one – The timetable is coming very late and it is actually choked. I only have two weeks for exams. I am writing seven papers and five of them are actually back to back.
“The fact that we are not in school and we were at home, there was a lot of distractions that you could not really read intensively like when you are in school where nobody is disturbing you and you have enough time. Online classes were not enough. It was never enough and would never be enough. Physical classes can never be under estimated,” he said.
Mary Janet, a 100-Level student said that the online classes were not regular and were also time and data consuming. As a result, she said she could not say she was ready for the examination because she was yet to cover some of her courses.