The Many Effects of COVID-19 on University Education



By Olisemeka Adiefe, Peter Jamodu, Olamide Ogunleye, and Aderinmola Ayobami

That the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the educational sector adversely is hardly a secret. However, many have never given thought to the actual scope of the effects of COVID-19 on tertiary institutions, especially the University of Lagos.

In this piece, UNILAG Sun reporters break down the impact of the pandemic on different areas of the university. Read on!

Academics

For obvious reasons, this article will start by addressing the elephant in the room: the disruption to academic calendar, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What many reasoned would be a short break in academic activities turned out to be a nightmarish months-long break, during which students spent more than a year gaining weight and getting bachelor’s degrees in plate washing and house mopping.

The strike action of the Academic Union of Universities (ASUU) hardly helped matters, as it forced the university to remain closed even after the lockdown was lifted. However, the protracted dispute between the ASUU and FG ended, much to the relief of students.

Shortly after, the university announced lectures would commence online, since COVID-19 guidelines made physical lectures impossible. While the University Learning Management System (LMS) faced issues, students were able to learn and anything was surely better than wasting away at home doing nothing.

The end-of-semester exams also assumed a new format because of the need to stem the spread of the virus among the university population. Undergraduates in 100 Level and 200 Level were to write their examinations online, while the 300-500 Level students would move into hostels in a staggered resumption to write their exams.

Source: dw.com

Upon completion of the first phase of examinations (online examinations), 300 Level students moved into the hostels to write theirs for two weeks. Afterwards, the 400 Level and 500 Level students moved in after the departure of their counterparts in 300L to write their examinations.

To ensure the safe resumption of students, the university management ensured adherence to COVID-19 protocols. Asides from encouraging social distancing and wearing of masks, it ordered students to present a bottle of sanitiser and 10 facemasks before gaining entry into hostels.

Business activities

The COVID-19 pandemic also had many effects on business activities in the university environment. With the entire primary consumer population at home and in lockdown, businesses in the university suffered huge losses.  


The physical resumption of some students has done little to improve the fortunes of businesses in UNILAG, since the school population has not resumed fully yet. Most businesses are operating sub-optimally; closing at earlier times; and are generally selling less goods than usual. Unlucky traders have had to stop operations until the full resumption of students, thus turning out less profit on the school’s behalf.

Another oft-ignored effect of the pandemic on university businesses is the persistent inflation that has caused prices of products to skyrocket. As contained in our Community Report, many business owners complained that the inflation in the aftermath of the pandemic has affected their operations, forcing them to increase prices of goods.

Administration

The general administration of the university has undergone an overhaul due to the pandemic. To comply with federal-sanctioned COVID-19 guidelines, the university ordered all but some employees to work from home.

The university administration also resorted to holding some of its meetings to limit physical gatherings. 

This pandemic has had many adverse effects of activities in the University of Lagos. But it has also led to positive changes, such as the innovative online learning/examination system.

Despite the changes occasioned by COVID-19, the university has remained resolute and committed in its drive to provide excellent education. With the gradual return of normalcy, it is hoped that we all come back to read this piece with a sigh of relief and thank whatever we believe in that the storm is over.

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