The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the dreaded Coronavirus may have given rise to accelerated evolution in the Educational Landscape on a global scale. While appraising the situation arising from the coronavirus pandemic, the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of Skyline University Nigeria (SUN), Professor Sudhakar Kota, said that the world had a critical situation in its hands such that when turned around, there are likely benefits that could change the future of education.
He made this submission recently during a media brief on ‘Skills Development in post-Covid 19’. In his appraisal of the educational system, Professor Kota said that before COVID-19, there was already a growing demand from the labour market at a global level for more flexible and blended forms of lifelong learning beyond initial education in order to address the need to upskill workers for the digital economy”.
“These days, when people talk about education, the conversation usually turns to virtual learning. Virtual learning is transforming the experience of the classroom by augmenting traditional textbook materials with online resources and content portals; by enhancing customary "chalk and talk" lectures through the use of rich multimedia and interactive content; and by extending student discussions beyond the walls of the classroom via a wide range of new communications platforms” he added.
While the COVID-19 situations persist indefinitely, a lot of online education is currently delivered in Skyline University Nigeria, replicating more traditional forms of learning on-campus. This new approach has accelerated new forms of pedagogy and tremendous initiatives from individual academics in the area of skills development.
In response to enquiries and testimonials gathered from feedbacks from successfully conducted virtual classes with students, seminars and workshops, the VC said “even before Covid-19, there was already high growth in the adoption of a digital learning platform amongst the students and staff as per the primary goal of the university to be recognized both locally and internationally as the citadel of academic excellence. This platform allows parents a more efficient means of assessing their children's progress via online access to real-time student-information systems, while allowing students to access their coursework from elsewhere, rather than solely on school ground”.
While gathering additional information on the impact of virtual education, Mr. Haruna Lawan Baffa, a 200 level students of Economics said, “The University's Initiative to introduce a platform for virtual learning where we can continue from where we stopped while we stayed at home has help to improve our digital skills and will continue to be commendable. Lectures were delivered as per the syllabus and normal timetable schedule. I hope that one day, when the pandemic ends, we will occasionally get to look back and revisit the virtual learning experience”.
Another student, Miss. Nihat Mustapha, a hundred level student of Biochemistry, stated that “the use of technology and online learning platforms was a very interesting and valuable experience worth learning. It has given us a good grounding in the basics of digital skills. It has improved my critical thinking and enabled me to interact with people through practical work. I have learnt so much from all of the constructive input and guidance throughout each lesson of the course. The online classes have helped me to understand where my strengths and weaknesses are, and what areas I need to improve”.
For people desirous of education, wondering whether the adoption of virtual learning and the skills that comes with it will continue to persist post-COVID-19, the University’s Vice-Chancellor advised that the integration of information technology of all the initiatives taken for online education, in this trying times and if eventually will become an integral component of the university’s education would be depended on the approval from the government and the National Universities Commission (NUC).