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Umah Muhammed
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When the proposed academic calendar of Ahmadu Bello University for completion of 2019/20 academic session was leaked to the public on Monday 11 January 2021 indicating that the 2019/20 academic session second semester examinations would end on Saturday 21 August 2021, ABU students heaved a sigh of relief.

The fear was that ABU could tow the path of Bayero University Kano and cancel an academic session. However, their fears were allayed and the hope that 3 semesters could be achieved in 2021 to make up for the lost time occasioned by the closure of schools for over 10 months was renewed.

This would mean that at best there would be no spending of an extra year to bag that degree, at worst just additional few months. The students eagarly anticipated the approval of the calendar by the senate on Tuesday 12 January 2020.

Following the statements by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu during the Presidential Task Force briefing on Monday that the 18 January 2020 resumption date is not sacrosanct and would be subjected to review, an adjusted proposed calendar of ABU greeted the social media space in the early hours of Tuesday which suggested that students would resume in batches and the 2019/20 academic calendar would end 4 December 2021 without stating when 2020/21 academic session would commence. Alas! The adjusted proposed calendar was later approved by the Senate.

This dashed the hope of the students as it became clear that there is possibility of losing an academic year to the the closure of schools which was not their making. Being made to pay for government and ASUU irresponsibilities.

It is pertinent to note that the Minister of Education has long clarified his statement on the resumption date and has okayed the 18 January 2020 resumption date emphasing strict adherence to Covid – 19 protocols and guidelines.

Also, with the statement from UNICEF that schools are not the drivers of Covid – 19, Shouldn’t ABU review her calendar so as to accommodate running 3 semesters this year so as to make up for lost time? I think they should.

Despite Lagos being the epicenter of Covid – 19, with over 7,000 active cases and nearly 40,000 confirmed cases, University of Lagos academic calendar is still student friendly, same with University of Abuja, University of Jos which host state has more Covid – 19 confirmed and active cases than Kaduna State.

University of Lagos and University of Ilorin resorted to online lectures pending further reviews, I am shocked that a cosmopolitan university like ABU that prides herself as “naturally ahead,” could not even contemplate going virtual so as to release a friendly academic calendar. Even small Ekiti State University is going virtual (with due respect to them.)

Don’t tell me the student population of ABU is too much, ABU is not more populated than University of Lagos and University of Ilorin. The difference in population between Ahmadu Bello University and University of Nigeria as well as University of Benin is barely 2000 students based on statistics on statistica yet University of Nigeria is not resuming in batches and University of Benin would be running 4 semesters this year so as to make up for the lost time. Let me remind you that ABU is the biggest university in terms of land mass in sub saharan Africa, I stand to be corrected though.

In a time when students have been at home and have wasted over 10 months already, a lot of schools are being innovative to cover up for lost time, the least any school should run is a 3 semester per year calendar, it is pathetic that a school like Ahmadu Bello University would waste her student time further under the guise of Covid – 19.

So far most schools are running at least 3 semesters per year with University of Benin and University of Abuja running 4 semesters.

UNICEF didn’t mince words when it said, schools are not the drivers of Covid – 19, this was proven by State Universities not under ASUU, Private Universities, Polytechnics , Colleges of Education and other tertiary institutions that opened during the 1st wave of the pandemic.

We must not forget that youths form the bulk of students in the university, statistics has shown that Covid – 19 is not so virulent on the youth, the symptoms are milder and the recovery rate is unprecedented, so why release this kind of anti-student calendar.

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Sabo market and all the markets in Zaria do not resume in batches, they are packed full without strict adherence to Covid – 19 protocols and guidelines yet they function without any Covid – 19 scare, why should an ivory tower which is more organised, Covid – 19 protocols and and guidelines could easily be enforced and should be a role model to other institution suffer for government irresponsible policies.

University of Ibadan just cancelled an academic session, their academic calendar also ends December like ABU. Is that what ABU intends to do?

Students have wasted time at home for too long and would prefer the school management revert back to the initial proposed calender of 3 semesters per year than this calendar that could lead to a possible cancellation of a session.

This calendar is anti-student and it should reviewed.

I appeal to well meaning Nigerians to prevail on ABU management to review this calendar and revert back to a 3 semester per year calendar so as to enable students graduate as at when due and prevent spending extra years in school.

I appeal to ABU management to look assiduously into the points raise and give in to reason.

Students need a friendly calendar that will help them graduate as at when due. The clock is ticking.

JUSTICE EJEHI OMODIAGBE Writes from Zaria, Kaduna State. Justiceomodiagbe@gmail.com

Source: Theabusites.com

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