IN ORDER to get necessary information on the effect of coronavirus pandemic in higher institutions, measures taken to ensure compliance among students considering their population, actions being done to cover the time lost during the total lockdown/long strike and #EndSARS protest as well as beginning of the new academic session and how the managements have planned to limit the number of students as a result of COVID 19 related issues in facilities available in the schools, National Light visited Federal Polytechnic, Oko.
Acting Registrar of Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Obini Onuchukwu who was appointed last year said that the effect of the pandemic was not just peculiar to the institution or the entire country but a world challenge.
“The negative impact of the pandemic started more intensely last year. It has distorted academic calendar across the world, including quality of service delivery and become a huge challenge in the economic strength of all institutions across the world. It is a huge issue which we are also feeling its impact in Federal Polytechnic Oko.
“One, the academic calendar is no longer the same but we are doing the best we can to cope with the opportunity given to us. As I speak with you, we are preparing our second semester examination and then our matriculation will follow afterwards. However, we have adapted the measures to ensure the compliance of the COVID 19 guidelines as specified by the Presidential Task Force. We have a very important committee called ‘Safe Reopening of Institution Against COVID 19’. This committee has the responsibility of ensuring that all required for safe observation of protocols is enforced, working extremely hard to ensure that in very strategic locations, you have all the running water and basins available with liquid soap and sanitizer, to ensure that our hands are properly watched, make facemask available for purchase round the campus, including adequate water supply to various locations”.
Mr Onuchukwu stated that Federal Polytechnic, Oko, is one of the institutions that manufactured anti-COVID machine being fully automated with solar energy power system which they have been making maximum use of towards observing the protocols, cleansing of the body and washing of hands as being checked by the committee and also ensuring social distancing in the school activities.
“For example, I can assure you that our forthcoming matriculation from the arrangement made so far will be online. This is to reduce the body contacts with each other due to a huge population as it has been from history during such occasions among students in higher institutions. For our exams that will be coming shortly too, we have staggered it in such a manner that the population will be adequately controlled. We are only having the challenges of the financial muscles to accommodate all these strategies but all the same, we believe that our parent body and regulatory agencies are also aware”
Mr. Onuchukwu stressed that having been in this era of pandemic, life is to be considered first and must do everything humanly possible to secure lives, even as other disciplinary monitoring agencies of the institution are obviously working effectively to ensure that lecturers are very timely in service delivery so as to cover time lost during the total lockdown and #EndSARS protests using a specified curriculum, adding that the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, in their ICT compliant level were delivering online lectures within the lockdown, bridging the gap through the WhatsApp platform and seculars from the director of the Academic Planning, reaching out on lectures that was going on.
“We only completed our lectures and have returned for our exams. So, that alone bridged the prolonged holiday arising from shutting down of schools. We have released two barges of admissions. The first is the merit list and the second is the normal list of admission. We have one or two more lists to be published before our matriculation and that will give a sign of closure of admission”.
He also noted that considering the population of the students, the management are conscious of their number using their carrying capacity and not to go beyond it irrespective of the pandemic but always mindful of the facilities which he said cannot be stretched beyond limit because of the challenging situation. He assured of full compliance of the institution on COVID- 19 guidelines even as the new academic session begins.