The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has given four conditions to tertiary institutions authorities before it will allow its members to take online classes.
The association made this known in a statement on Wednesday by its Southwest spokesperson, Kazeem Olalekan Israel.
“It is sad that despite the fact that we are in a critical period of our national life, the Nigerian government, rather than show commitment to continued survival/sustenance of the people has been paying lip-service to provide palliatives where there is none.
“To make things worst and to show how unprepared we are as a people, the management of tertiary institutions in the country in adhering to the directives of the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Education is about to kickstart a virtual learning process for their students without providing means.
“Though, as an association, we are in support of virtual learning for students because it is an advancement as against the conventional mode of learning, but, it is very unfortunate that the Federal Government has failed to meet our demands which include but not limited to the provision of specified data and Cost of Study Allowance (COSA) of at least #100,000 for each student all over the country in order to aid the online learning process that is about to commence.
“We feel disappointed that management of higher institutions in the country are colluding with the Federal Government to make students carry the brunt of governmental failure and inefficiency with the introduction of online lectures for their students even when our demands have not been met.
“It is on record that these demands of ours would act as a stimulus for the actualisation of online classes because, without being economical with the truth, many if not all the tertiary institutions in the country lack the facilities to handle online learning. The reason for this cannot be far-fetched; despite calls from a different angle for the proper funding of the educational sector, the Federal Government has failed to invest in the sector which is why private institutions in the country can boast of having what it takes to hold online classes for their students and which has actually commenced in full force there while public higher institutions are yet to have a headway.
“As an association, we believe that the order for the commencement of online classes for students in tertiary institutions by the Federal Government is hypocritical as successive governments in the country have actually failed to invest in education which has indeed make it impossible to hold online classes as a result of the lack of the resources. As the saying goes, you cannot build something on anything and, there is no man that wants to build a house and will not first draw a plan and count the cost. The Federal Government should accede to the demands of students by providing data for all Nigerian students.
“It is evident that with the lack of adequate power supply in many part of the country and the lack of funds to buy sufficient data on our laptop, online learning is and would remain a mirage. In summary, if Nigerian students must attend online classes, the following demands must be met;
1. Provision of study allowance of no less than One hundred thousand naira (#100,000) to purchase Internet WiFi, data, alternative electricity generators in the absence of decent electricity.
2. Special provision to get decent Laptop across to students.
3. The Academic Staff Union of Universities be consulted on school materials necessary to deliver successful online lectures.4. Given the truncation of the economic lives of our parents due to the COVID 19 lockdown, we forthwith demand that fees across tertiary institutions be slashed by 50%.
Conclusively, we reiterate that free, quality and compulsory education remains a right and not a privilege.”