University for Development Studies (UDS) has said it is ready to move part of its academic work online for some students to participate in to reduce congestion in classrooms.
According to management, the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the country is worrying and considering how congested lecture halls become during tuition, it is only appropriate to limit the numbers and move lectures online as a matter of urgency to avoid the spread among students on campus.
Per the new guidelines outlined, lecturers have been asked to engage only 50 students per class while the rest participate online either on campus from the library or their place of abode.
Head of Communication, Art and Culture Department, UDS, Dr. Eliasu Mumuni who disclosed this to the B&FT in an interview noted that the 50 persons limit that management seeks to place on a class would put much pressure on lecturers in trying to satisfy both those that would be present and the online participants.
“With our students numbering about 800 per department, we have been compelled to group them into 50 per class as a way of adhering to the social distance protocol but that is also making it difficult for lecturers to attend to the students due to the student-lecturer ratio,” he said.
He added that unlike other universities that run on two semester basis, UDS runs three semesters and the current situation is putting a lot of burdens on management and lecturers of the institution to ensure that the students go through the academic calendar.
A challenge that, he noted, would affect effective online studies is the prevalent inequality gap in the north where many do not have the money to pay their fees nor to purchase the gadgets for their academic work. He therefore urged government to collaborate with the telecommunication companies to provide the facilities to the students at a reduce cost.
“Since the virus has come to stay, there is the need for government to consider the provision of modems, data and if possible tablet into the admission fees of students and subsequently charging them for the data. This would enable all students to at least have access to the facilities for their academic work in every semester without going through any stress and there would not be any disruption,” he said.