When is OAU Resuming?
It’s almost one year now since OAU has been closed against all academic activities, primarily because of the COVID-19 pandemic and secondarily because of the 9 months ASUU strike that eventually got suspended last December. Amidst all that is a lot of other internal instabilities with NASU and SANNU striking back to back; the former stopped every other activities that aren’t academics from happening. Good to know all the unions have suspended their strikes now, and they are ready for work as soon as the Christmas and New Year holidays are over, which is two weeks counting from December 24th, 2020 and would be ending on 7th of January, 2021. So the new year’s staffs fellowship would be on Friday, 8th of January, 2021, and work would begin properly the following Monday. That is that about nonacademic activities, but when can we be expecting OAU to declare a resumption date for academic activities? This is the question everyone is asking now, and this is not a question to have an answer to without considering a lot of factors that have the greatest power in defining when OAU would be ready for academic activities.
ASUU strike suspended, yes, and the lecturers are ready to work, but as things are looking in the management of OAU and the university environment as at today, it does not look like OAU will resume academic activities in the next two or three weeks. So they should chill everyone thinking since all strikes have been suspended and the people don’t really care about the pandemic anymore, OAU should be able to resume lectures in the first or second week of January of the new year; things are currently not looking in favour of that thought. Apart from the fact that the governments at the center and at the regions are yet to really understand how they want to manage academic activities with COVID-19 still very much in town and the vaccines not available to the country yet, and they don’t want to declare academic activities opened yet, the management of OAU on their own are yet to figure out how to keep the academic activities going even in the midst of all these. OAU has always been a digitally backwards university (forget that “Leading in ICT” thing OAU says about herself, it’s a big lie), so for this, the digitally-enhanced academic activities can't happen in OAU anytime soon to make resumption of academic activities happen this early January; not even when the lecturers have been on strike for long and no preparation has been made priory for the introduction of digitally-enhanced academic activities.
Another thing that OAU would need before calling the students back to school is the fumigation and the rearrangement of the halls of residence, even if they would not really mean to work by the precautions against COVID-19, they would at least want to pretend like they do; they would want to change a lot of things about how the students staying in the hostels live together. Also, they would want to do a lot of things about the lecture theaters that would depict that they are adhering to the precautions against COVID-19. None of these have been done yet, in fact nothing visible has been done about any of these. It is also good to think it is possible for the departments to not want to encourage hundreds of people having to receive lectures together in a small theater, so most of the popular courses might need to have a review of how many lecturers would take them and how many people can be in each class. All these would take the departments several departmental meetings to prepare. So with all these, returning students should just stop looking forward to resuming academic activities this early January, because the nearest that can happen is going to be late January. However, the post-UTME candidates should be prepared to be called upon for their screening very soon. Also, on this, anything can still happen, the school might still say no need to write an exam for the screening, they would just go ahead and screen applicants using just their O/Level results and the UTME results; it has happened before, and it can happen again. But whatever the case may be for the returning students and the JAMBites, let’s all just keep believing things would get better with OAU this year, as everyone is already having the urge to get back to work.