It is clear now – the students are victims. For years, vice chancellors of universities, TETFUND, National Universities Commission, etc were telling Nigerians that they were networking our schools. But now that we need to use those invested capabilities, the schools are not ready. As Nigerian students mark time at home while their peers in the U.S. and Europe continue to attend classes, albeit remotely, a new dislocation is being seeded.
But this is no more Europe and U.S., South African schools are pushing deep into online learning to help their students: University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, “has also entered into contracts with MTN and Vodacom which would enable the students to receive free 30 gigabytes of data (10GB anytime and 20GB night express) for one month…“Wits has negotiated with telecommunications service providers to have learning and library sites zero-rated so that you can access them at no cost to users.” Wit is a public school and has stocked 5,000 new laptops for students who may need them.
Of course, I am not sure anyone will expect MTN to do Father Christmas in Nigeria with the high voltage searchlights with fines we have beamed on its operations. So, with MTN out, you expect Glo, 9Mobile and Airtel to help. But it comes down to relationships. I am not sure up to 10% of our university leaders know the CEOs of these companies. Practically, the disconnect between our schools and companies cannot allow anything to work. With no relationship, no deal can be finalized.
But before I get carried away, Nigerian university teachers are on strike. With fighting coronavirus the focus of the government, that strike could enter new phases. So, head or tail, students remain the victims! Why? Everyone has forgotten that teachers are on academic lockdown as Covid-19 ravages the economy.