A typical scene witnessed during the exam period in higher institutions is students returning from night class after reading vigorously for the forthcoming exam. The students of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko were no exception as they were seen in groups discussing what they read through the night on their way home from school. Joy overwhelmed some who have been preparing to end the first semester on a high note, while some berated their inability to prepare ahead of time due to the short duration allocated to the semester.
However, sad news broke on March 6 when reports confirmed the unfortunate death of Ayedun Temitope Patience, a 200 level student of Educational Management and Olayinka Matthew Olakunle, a 300 level student from the department of Biochemistry due to Lassa fever and stray shot respectively.
In reaction to the unrest which might arise from the incidents, the management of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, through the circular signed by the Acting Registrar, Mr Opeoluwa Akinfemiwa, announced that the students are to go on a two-week mid-semester break and are to resume on March 22 to commence their examination immediately. The circular, signed on March 8, further urged the students to be diligent in their studies during the break.
It must be recalled that the academic calendar was initially planned to commence examination on March 9. However, all hopes of having the examination as early as possible were put to bed when the Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu announced the indefinite closure of all schools on March 19 following the outbreak of coronavirus in Nigeria, a decision further corroborated by the University’s management on Friday, March 20. This announcement was made barely 72 hours to the resumption of students from the mid-semester break.
With the frenzy as occasioned by the lockdown order which subsequently followed the school closure, students have reportedly found it difficult to keep up to tabs in their preparation for the examination they’ll encounter upon resumption. In interviews with CAMPUSLIFE, they have expressed their agony and pleas with the school management.
Ebenezer Toba, a 400level student of English Studies, assumed that the probability of students performing up to expectation is low even though exams will come as scheduled. In his opinion, the news circulating during the break due to the pandemic has caused the students to lose morale for learning. He said, “What the students are currently facing now can have one per cent depreciation to their morale for studying.”
“No food, restriction of movement, skyrocket in infected cases and the likes. All these circumstances enumerated by me could contribute to their exam performance. We also need to realize that we don’t learn when we’re tired. Moreover, tiredness is not only triggered by our human system alone. Things like news and environment could also contribute to it. My advice is if the management could probably give a week or two before the commencement of the examination. The free days will reconfigure the students back to their ‘used to be’ environment before the pandemic”, he added.
A 300 level student from Mass communication department, Omoare Deborah berated the unfortunate incident that led to students going on the mid-semester break. She, however, pleaded that the management should be lenient towards the time setup because the students are currently finding it difficult to read during the mid-semester break.
In her words, “It’s a pity that we saw the exam timetable but we were unable to write it. I’ll be glad if the school can give us like two weeks interval for students to revise their notes before writing the exam to prevent mass failure because most students won’t read their notes at home in the course of the virus break.”
“Whether we like it or not, the school will surely conduct exams for the students when we resume back to school. Without an exam, there’s no promotion for the students. The school management can only help the students by giving them enough time to prepare adequately for the exam. Let us not deceive ourselves, most of us have forgotten what we’ve been taught so far before the break caused by the pandemic.”
She bemoaned the deplorable state of the education sector in Nigeria, as the examination ought to have been conducted online to ease the stress. She further admonished the federal government to invest positively in the education sector which will play a positive role in future purpose.
“All these would have been easy if the Nigerian educational sector is sound and well structured. Normally, the school management ought to conduct the exam via online when the pandemic break started. But it is pitiable that the Federal Government has neglected the educational system which is making the students face hardship in their education cut across all levels. I’m using this medium to charge the government to develop the education sector so that our future will not be jeopardized,” she said.
“It is not easy staying at home, as attention has been shifted to other things which are even frivolities.” This statement was made by Augustine Faith. She added that she has found it hard to keep the focus on reading and preparing for an exam. Using her experience as a case study, she disclosed to our reporter that she has been occupied with house chores and she has also been making moves to ensure that she is a better person when resumption finally come calling.
In her words, “I can’t say the last time I opened my book though I brought them home. I’m more concerned with learning skills and other things online. When I glance at my EMT 201, it was looking like Greek! Probably if it’s said that we’re resuming tomorrow, I will be forced to dust my book.”
Faith, who is a 200 level student of Educational Management, prays that more time should be given to ensure that students come to grips with the exam period as the possibility of mass failure is high if students’ mental preparedness is not considered. She noted that the revision period would serve a useful purpose as some courses were not completed before the break.
“My performance will be poor except there is some revision. I dwell more on explanations and night class, not reading much. If an examination is immediately after resumption, there won’t be chances for night class and explanation and you know what that means.”
“My advice to the management is that there should be a revision. Perhaps not all classes have been completed before. They should try and bring back memories, only this can save us from the disastrous results awaiting,” she concluded.
Meanwhile, a lecturer from the Department of Philosophy, Mrs Aanuoluwapo Sunday opined that no serious student would fail. Though students generally can’t read due to uncertainty of resumption, she said that a serious student will be encouraged to read when what is ahead is put into consideration.
She said, “I know morale is low now. However, I believe that often, a student should be prompted by what is ahead and feel like reading. I don’t think any serious student would fail. I think this is an opportunity for students to do better than they did previously. Being at home for a while has granted enough time to study and do a lot of research. For me, I don’t think there will be a mass failure if they do the needful.”
She urged the management to however grant a week revision for the students to enable the lecturers to refresh the memories of the students. This will curb any possibility of mass failure. “I wish to tell the management that despite the long holiday, there should be a week revision after the resumption. The lecturer in charge of each course should be made to refresh the memory of the class and students should use the opportunity to ask questions. With this, I think every avenue for any failure will be forestalled.”
Speaking with the students’ union Public Relations officer, Adegbeyeni Oluwafemi disagreed that there is a tendency of students not reading their books. He said, “I was listening to one of the interviews conducted with our acting Vice-Chancellor and I picked where he pointed out that AAUAites are disciplined and good.”
“I want to believe that a large percentage of students are reading and studying at home. AAUAites are disciplined and serious at what they do.”
However, the vice president, Akinlalu Valentina countered the PRO. In her opinion, the atmosphere is not favourable for students to read at home. She, however, pleaded that students should not relax in their comfort zone as the pandemic may be over anytime soon.
“It is understandable that the majority of the students do not find studying at home easy. The atmosphere isn’t favourable enough to read. The morale is low but let’s encourage them to study either gradually or spontaneously as no one knows when the pandemic would end. We pray God heals our land,” she said.
She further disclosed that the students’ union is putting all hands on deck to ensure that the students are taken care of. She hinted our reporter that the union is considering making use of the social media platform Telegram to engage the students in academic activities, which is pending due to some logistics that are to be resolved soon.
In her words, “We’ve been working vigorously on our plans with the management and individuals in the business sector, counselling team, impact builders et al, though not visible enough. Considering the Telegram platform created by the PRO, we have this great expectation that it will work out. When it’s feasible enough, we’ll let the students know.”
The institution’s management is also not turning a deaf ear to the pleas of the students. Speaking with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), Prof. Francis Gbore, he informed our correspondent that no decision will be taken until after resumption from the mid-semester break.
Meanwhile, the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr Olusegun Owolewa disclosed to our correspondent that he will plead on behalf of the students for an additional two weeks to revise before the commencement of the examination. He stated that the management has presented a proposal to the State Government to enable the University to commence virtual learning and a positive result is expected. He further urged the students to pay at least part of their tuition fees to enable them to enjoy a hitch-free session.
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