Monday, September 14, 2020

Safeguarding Higher Educational System: What Crown University Intl. Chartered Inc. VC, UNESCO Laureate, Prof Sir Bashiru Aremu Said At Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State, Nigeria, Institution's International Webinar Conference In Partnership With Higher Institution On The Post Covid-19 pandemic, The Ethical Responsibilities Of Lecturers To Students As School Re-opens.

By Victor Bieni

H.E UNESCO Laureate Sir Prof Bashiru Aremu,
(Multiple Doctorates & Post Doctorates Internationally Distinguished Academician & Administrator),
Vice Chancellor,
Crown University Int'l Charted Inc.,
Teaching and Research Hospital Campus located at Santa Cruz, Argentina, South America, , partners in Americas .Nigeria, Ghana, India, Liberia and associates world wide,
URL University: has urged lecturers in Nigerian Universities and Higher Institutions all over the world to uphold its Ethical Responsibilities to students, undergraduates during and in this era of post Covid-19 as school re-opens.

The World Acclaimed Distinguished Professor of information Communication Technology ICT, and Vice Chancellor, Crown University International Chartered Inc which it's Teaching and Research Hospital Campus is located at Santa Cruz in Argentina South America partners in India Ghana Benin Republic Nigeria Liberia and associates world wide , UNESCO Laureate Prof Sir Bashiru Aremu disclosed this to the media soon after the International Webinar conference his Institution had in partnership with the management of Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State, Nigeria.

He said that Never before have we seen a lockdown of such scale and magnitude, at least in our lifetime, that it is our only way to fight the virus and prevent its spread, at least for as long as we don’t develop a vaccine for it as the tittle of the International conference was on "Safeguarding the Educational system during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic period, and the ethical responsibilities of lecturers to Students as school re-opens.

In his words: " Until then, we have to find ways to carry on our work from the confines of our homes. Technology provides us with the means to do that in a very successful manner".

"The teaching profession has no doubt, been at the forefront in adapting to this change. We have seen so many innovative means followed by the Lecturers to reach out to the students. Be it the video lectures, video links online classes, tests and assignment submissions, the teaching fraternity hasn’t shied away from its responsibilities. You indeed, cannot clap with one hand. This wouldn’t have been possible if the students wouldn’t have participated in this exercise".

"We have to appreciate our students for their active participation. Moreover, online classes have given students an opportunity to justify their usage of phones and social media to their family. This puts them in a position they never were but were always aspiring to be in, and that probably drives them to take up online activities with more zeal and vigour as compared to their offline regular classes".

cognitive awareness, health protection, COVID-19 pandemic, values, moral, e-learning, university teaching staff, academic degree,
Introduction and Foundation:
There is no doubt, a digital divide across the students of our region which has become more than evident, during this lockdown. Almost all students from lower classes don’t have access to phones".

"All don’t have access to an internet connection in their homes. I believe it is our duty as the guardians of the future of our nation, to acknowledge this fact and accept that there is nothing they can do about it. Regardless to say, they can easily be brought at par with the rest of the students with a little bit of extra effort by the faculty as and when the institute reopens".

"But, this realization by a student that their lecturer is aware of their situation and has taken it into account can go a long way in providing them with the required confidence and mindset to overcome the anxiety and stress caused due to this extraordinary crisis".

"Sadly, there are few from among the higher classes who have not participated till now despite having the means and the internet reception at their homes to do so. They are not to be left out at any costs. As such, we as faculty, have to make an extra effort to include them either by contacting their parents and guardians or by any other means possible".

"Further, it is our duty to enlighten our students about the ongoing crisis with facts and verified information over and above the subject matter. We have to educate them on ways to avoid and prevent the spread of the virus, keep reminding them every now and then. We are the ones continuously in touch with most of them, if not all. We must motivate them to further spread it in their family and locality. Most importantly, we have to act as a filter that prevents the disinformation and fake news from creeping into their lives and polluting their minds at this crucial hour. For that, we ourselves have to be well-informed beyond the scope of our subject. This can tremendously help to flatten the curve of transmission of coronavirus in our nation and thus, around the world".

"A clich├ęd statement yet very wise in these extraordinary times-“An empty mind is a devil’s workshop”. We have to find ways to give students a purpose to achieve every two to three days, if not every day. It can be through some assignment, online tests; self-study topics of their interest so on and so forth. Innovation is the key. This will give them a sense of achievement which is important now, more than ever. A statement of acknowledgement for their hard work by the faculty can also help boost their confidence and keep them away from the perils of an idle mind".

“Never let a good crisis go to waste”. This event has indeed, given us an opportunity and the push required to find ways to improve the overall standard of our teaching fraternity and learn to connect in a better, effective and efficient manner with our students. Remember, winning over this virus is not an option here, it is a must. This, I believe, is our contribution to achieving it".

"Lecturers and Role: The role of a lecturers is vital in a student’s life. While students get their emotional needs from home, it’s the lecturers who acknowledge and understand them at school. They are the ones who nourish the students for a better" future".

In other words: Lecturers also work as “parents” in the school. From the ancient era, students consider teachers to be role models. Usually, they were made to believe that – teachers were always right. As children spend most of their day in school, the impact a teacher can have in a student’s life can’t be understated"..

"The famous student quote makes sense here. To the world, you may be just a Lecturer, but to your students, you are a hero".

"So, What Happened Suddenly In 2020?
More than just any other calendar year, many people, including numerologists and astrologists, predicted that 2020 would be an unusually good year because of its unique number format 2020".

"Life was going smoothly for millions around the world until January 2020, despite COVID-19 strengthening its grip in China. Offices were functioning well, people were moving around freely, and students were preparing for their final semester classes and exams".

"In a matter of a couple of months, the pandemic started spreading very rapidly around the globe. All of a sudden, one piece of news dropped like a bombshell – schools are closing down in view of the massive outbreak of COVID-19. Parents started panicking, Lecturers, teachers were confused and stressed, and children were excited about the unexpected long vacations they were going to get".

"As things continued to get worse day by day, institutional organizations came to one conclusion. There is only one solution – a drastic change to the new curriculum that was e-learning".

"So, everyone said goodbye to the conventional classrooms. Gone are the days of the old traditional schooling system".

"Role of a Lecturers Before COVID-19
For many years, all schools throughout the world have been following the standard traditional teaching style".

"A lecturers’ role in the traditional teaching style is just lecture throughout in the lecture hall, and students would listen. However, this is the most preferred teaching style both by the Lecturers and the parents due to several reasons".

"Here we mention few reasons:
Firstly, school is like a second home for students where the lecturers take care of the entire day. Thus in the case of working parents, they can leave the students in the lecture hall or class and go to work peacefully".

"Therefore parents get a feeling that they are in safe hands.
One primary focus of Lecturers is to make students prepare for their exams. Lecturers are of great help to the different levels of students. While some may be studious, others may like challenges or some students may also be last-minute crammers.
Lecturers strictly monitor the assignments".
"It's a practice that all educators follow in school to assess students’ performance levels to ensure all the students perform equally. It also makes the students aware of their accomplishments.
Mostly, in the traditional teaching method".

"Lecturers make sure not to keep any visual aids or computer screens in the classroom so that the students don’t get distracted. I agree; in some cases, such as project-based learning, charts, blackboards, and other digital tools are being widely used. But the traditional classroom Lecturers don’t prefer to use such methods so that the students can stay focused".

"Another factor as to why this type of schooling system is widely accepted is because of strict discipline followed by Lecturers. All schools have their own rules and regulations. Thus, students in the school environment are expected to obey the institution’s law and guidance".

"I helps group learning. In a classroom environment, in many cases, Lecturers tend to modify their teaching style with group activities and learning. This helps students to communicate with each other and understand how others are learning. This not only enables their social skills, but it boosts their confidence level as well.
The Role of a Lecturers Post COVID 19
Times have changed! The epidemiological impact is so high that it forced the whole world to change, so are educational institutions. COVID-19 has forced millions of people to sit at home and over 1.2 billion students out of their schools".

"As explained above, the pandemic drama has made the learning system change so dramatically such that it made the schools go into the e-learning method across the world".

"What’s e-learning? It’s an educational method of teaching where students don’t have to be present in the class. Instead, teachers teach the lessons online".

"As you may know, the e-learning or distance learning concept has been around for several years but was not highly popular. But now, as schools across the globe have shut down, e-learning has become mandatory".

"Because of the staggering impact of COVID-19 on the educational system, more virtual institutions are likely to come up, which will make education just a click away. So, we should appreciate the fact that schools have made it an intellectual lockdown rather than an emotional one".

"Leaders with academic integrity:
"Universities and academics are seen as credible, independent voices. Such academic integrity is even more important in emergency situations. Virologists are the new stars with their analyses. Researchers work around the clock on vaccines and other solutions; but social sciences and all other disciplines are needed now to uphold academic integrity".

"It is likely the pressure to issue manipulated certificates or let students pass exams will increase under emergency rules due to strong financial pressures at all levels. Extraordinary situations need flexible solutions in terms of assignments, admissions dates, academic schedules, exams and publications".

"The likelihood of students losing a semester may be unavoidable in some countries, but, even in such extraordinary situations, the academic integrity of teachers, students, researchers and university leadership must be upheld. The pandemic shows the crucial importance and need for leaders with integrity, honestly serving the people with power entrusted in them and not primarily serving their own political or economic interests".

"Lecturers Will Become Digital Specialists Post COVID-19
Due to the concerns of the second wave of coronavirus outbreak, there are high chances that only fewer schools will reopen. For instance, Even at both primary and secondary level and lower primary schools will remain closed because small children don’t have the maturity or the ability to understand the concept of social distancing".

"When some schools reopen, that means there will be more shifts. The reason is social distancing, meaning that fewer students will get accommodation in a single classroom".

"So when coming to the point, some lecturers may not be used to handling the camera at all, or they might not have the exposure to remote teaching jobs. Lecturers have the ability to change and face hard situations, anyway".

"To prepare themselves for digital classrooms, lecturers need to ensure they are thoroughly familiar with the necessary tools and need to be internet savvy. Classrooms will be converted to Zoom. Homework books will be sent to teachers in the form of e-mails".

"This is an experience lecturers will have to go through, which, in turn, will make them digital experts".

"UNESCO has provided many online educational resources. Some of the useful tools given by them are as follows".

"Schoology – Tools to support instruction, learning, grading, collaboration, and assessment.
Seesaw – Enables the creation of collaborative and sharable digital learning portfolios and learning resources.
Google Classroom – Helps classes connect remotely, communicate and stay organized.
ClassDojo – Connects teachers with students and parents to build classroom communities.
Moodle – Community-driven and globally-supported open learning platform.
Lecturers with Great Creativity
Unlike traditional classrooms, in online classes getting the attention of the students is not an easy task. Every lecturers has his/her teaching style. But if your teaching style has no creativity, the students will lose interest in online classes as they will be attending from home".

"To engage the students in digital classes, faculty members have to be creative to grab the attention of the students. Easy distractibility is one of the main drawbacks of e-learning".

"In the e-learning industry, they say
Navigational aids like arrows, icons, and buttons need to be well designed, clearly visible, understood, and easily navigated. These should not be filled in with too much creativity making it difficult for online learners to recognize what these aids are meant for".

"Post-COVID Lecturers Get More Exposure.
Because lecturers will be trained towards the unprecedented transition, , it’s the best time for them to grab some new opportunities".

"For example, it’s the best chance for them to get into the field of ESL (English as a Second Language) and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teaching, thus getting exposed to international teaching. Recruiters hiring ESL and TEFL lecturers not only expect you to have just the relevant degree but also look forward to having the following".

"Your online teaching experience with Zoom or Skype or other competitive products.
And how creative and inspiring you are because, as an ESL or TEFL lecturers, you will mostly be teaching students abroad.
E-learning or distance learning provides both the above additional skills, which will be an added advantage in your future career path".

"Better Work-Life Balance
Unlike in the past, the current situation has compelled lecturers to do something different post-COVID-19".

"Until the last academic year, they wouldn’t forget the morning rush to school, spending the whole day in school, and rushing back home to do their work, household chores, etc. Moreover, many lecturers have students either under graduate and post graduates to take care of, as well".

"Working from home is not an easy task where a lot of interruptions can happen. But this is an excellent opportunity for the lecturers to be more efficient by reconciling between professional and personal life. Additionally, they can save a lot of traveling time as well".

"Fun-Loving Lecturers from a student’s Point of View
Corporal punishments are a part of the traditional classroom setting. Students with inappropriate behavior, disobedient students, and those who are irregular in completing assignments all have to go through certain disciplinary actions".

"In online teaching methods, it’s time to say farewell to such punishment methods. Thus from a student’s perspective, a lecturers post-COVID-19 could be jovial, light-hearted, and lively".

"Practical Challenges
Of course, there are some challenges lecturers need to face because technological glitch is a part of technology. Many lecturers are concerned about several challenges they have to face".

"For example, students residing in rural areas will not have access to digital tools and pieces of equipment like a computer, mobile, or internet connection. Handling digital tools might be low-hanging fruit for internet-savvy wealthy students, but what about the students who have come from low-income family backgrounds even in urban cities? If they have a mobile or a computer at all, it’s highly likely that rural areas’ connectivity will be unstable".

"The second major challenge is if both parents have to go to work, there won’t be anyone to control them. Unlike in the traditional schooling system, everything was under the control of the lecturers".

Crown University International Chartered Incorporation VC, Professor Sir Bashiru Aremu said: "Isolation can be a significant issue in distance learning, as schools are a place where students gather together and make friends. So no more PE classes, no more school cultural activities, and no more excursions".

"Another setback is internet data. I can see some online classes have started in the last few days, and parents already started complaining of the internet running out of data. So what would lecturers do in such a situation? It’s a problem that needs we need to address immediately".

"Just last week, I heard an incident where student made a brilliant excuse to get out of the Zoom online class by changing his name to “connecting..” so that the lecturers will know that he has trouble connecting to the internet. Initially, though I found it funny, on second thought, from a lecturers’ and parents’ point of view, such incidents are concerning".

"The role of a lecturers post-COVID-19 can be a challenge in such situations".

"Also, The New Indian Express points out:
Academicians believe that though the online platform is easily accessible for students with many having laptops, smartphones, and other such gadgets at home, the new-age model cannot match classroom learning".

Students know lecturers for their organizational skills and strict discipline. Amidst the smooth school year, the pandemic called coronavirus struck hard in the year 2020 on everyone around the globe".

"Lecturers and parents like everyone else were shocked to hear the news of schools closing down suddenly due to this epidemic going out of hand. Needless to say, the sudden outbreak of pandemic has taken its toll on the educational system".

"At this point, people had no choice but to turn into distant learning, fearing the quick transmission and the second-wave of the disease".

"E-learning is a perfect teaching tool if used effectively. And of course, it depends on students’ participation and their attitude".

"There are considerable differences in the role of a teacher pre and post-COVID-19".

"While in the pre-COVID era, the role of a teacher was that of a lecturer who strictly monitors the students’ classroom performances, the role of a teacher post-COVID will be entirely different"..

"In the conventional classroom setting, students consider schools as their second home and lecturers as their role models. But in online teaching or e-learning, the role of a lecturers changes completely – they become more creative, fun-loving, and online specialists.

"Moreover, as lecturers are working from home in digital classrooms, they can attain a greater work-life balance"..

"They also get an opportunity to get an exposure to international teaching because of the experience they gain from online tutoring and the use of other digital tools".

"The first setback is the lack of availability of online tools like computers and smartphones for students in rural areas.
Secondly, teachers complain of not being able to control the students as effectively as in the traditional classrooms".

"The problem is that students tend to be distracted more in the home environment as opposed to the classroom one.
Social isolation is also said to be one of the problems of remote classes. Here students miss group activities, excursions, collaborative cultural activities, etc.
Running out of internet data and making excuses for not attending the class are also some of the lecturers’ concerns.

"The role of Lecturers is highly significant in the present context of COVID-19 because it is the lecturers who acts as a Learning Facilitator of the young minds and guides them through online education. Lecturers have been considered the cream of society, the reason being that they help students to become good citizens. Known to be the architects of the nation, they provide the mould in which the nation’s character is cast through online education".

"Lecturers are expected to be competent in their courses and pace-setters of standards by developing meaningful human relationship through online education portal. They are expected to have an aptitude for teaching and must be capable of understanding several faces of a child".

"Lecturers can never truly teach unless they continuously learn. In the context of COVID-19, today, a great responsibility rests with lecturers with regard to motivating the undergraduate and post graduates students".

"Ethical and moral values, awareness of the significance of our heritage of thought and culture, our spirit of pluralism and oneness, the inculcation of scientific temper, patriotism and a sense of mission in the task of taking our great country forward — all these need to be nurtured in young minds by our lecturers through online education".

" Improvement in education, whether quantitative or qualitative, can only be secured through the efforts of lecturers who are the direct agents in the process of education. We want dynamic Lecturers, dynamic officers and a dynamic system to stimulate the static and obsolete system especially in COVID-19 context. The Lecturers is the real custodian of values which he/she has to transmit to the students".

"The responsibility of training youths depends on lecturers and parents. Lecturers have to raise the tone of academic life in the country through online education".

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