Interviewee -Yusuf Dutse

Interviewer – Lois Samari

We never saw this pandemic coming and it has managed to take over practically everything by halting our movement. That entails a halt on the academic calendar. But what is most daunting for students is what happens after and the readjustments the educational system will have to make.

We spoke with Bingham University‘s Student representative council (SRC) president, Yusuf Dutse, to have an idea of what might go down post-lockdown resumption.

Private Campus (PC) – So this quarantine/lockdown period has just a put a lot of students in a difficult position because everyone is agitated especially final year students. And as students, our biggest fear is centered around “what pace are we going to face when we get back to school?”. So it’s about what shift will the academic calendar have for us? Are we going to have to rush through everything in a short period of time so that we can continue the next academic year by September? Or will everything be adjusted to create a new calendar? I think this is where our major concerns are. 

Yusuf Dutse – “Thank you very much for having me on the second time. The first time was when I was campaigning to become president. I like your questions and this is a very good question. 

“Well as we all know, the covid 19 pandemic is really peculiar in the sense that it has affected many aspects of human life and the educational aspect of course is what hits us directly as students. Now the fact of the matter is that as it stands, orthodox, formal education in the four walls of a classroom, has been suspended indefinitely. And so this implies that we’re not really sure when it’s going to be safe to return uhh it borders on when there’s a good solution for this virus. 

“Now the issue with the academic calendar is…we can almost consider it wrong. You know it’s outdated because if you add one month to the day that school resumed and was cut short which I believe is the 24thof March, then you’re looking at almost April 20ththere about. Mid April and it’s very detrimental. And you can see its clear we’re not going to be home for just for  this month. It’s going to increase. So that in its own vein is a problem because the main issue right now is the indefinite manner in which many aspects of human life have become. 

“Sporting as well. You look at sporting the premier league, suspended indefinitely, the Spanish la Liga, the Bundesliga suspended indefinitely the NPL, Nigerian premier league, suspended indefinitely. So at this point, no one can really say. 

“Now it’s logical to say that in a logical environment where people are thinking logically, when things return to normal, and I hope sooner rather than later, all aspects of things that were working with certain calendars will have to compromise the structured form which they already had been using for the longest time. So they have to make additions, they have to make new openings, new consentient for how the calendar will continue because what happens if we end up resuming school in, say June? There’s no way they’re going to rush us to finish until August because Bingham finishes in August. There is no way that is going to work out. 

“So it’s a tough ask for them as well. It’s tough on all fronts to be very honest. It’s a question that one cannot really give a definite answer because we don’t really know how close we are to the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. Because we definitely know there is light at the end of the tunnel but when we will reach that light, we don’t know. 

“So all I can say is I believe strongly that the university administration and management as well as other organizations which use structured calendars that work in peculiar manners that are peculiar to their functionality, they’ll have to make some concessions. They will have to give some leeway and just sort of restructure it because of the scar that has and will be left by the covid 19 pandemic. 

Pc – That’s true. So many things will definitely have to change but we’ll wait and see how it goes then. But when, eventually, the ban is lifted and there is movement, and resumption comes up. What measures would you, as the SRC president advise that the school authority takes for the students’ safety and health because definitely the war against Covid would not be over then but we still need to keep ourselves in check. But we’ll still need to keep ourselves in check. So, what are you going to advocate for to ensure that students are still in check health-wise? 

Yusuf – Well that’s a very amazing question. First and foremost, when rules are put in place, the rule is one thing, obeying the rule is another. It’s a two-way thing. When policies are put in place, policy enforcement is one thing then policy acceptance and following is another thing. So by the grace of God when Covid is over, well I won’t say ‘over’, when the lockdown period is over and we return to school, the main aim will be to communicate with the university that “hey look, we need to make sure that our students…” you know everyone is coming from far and wide, so you don’t know if probably someone came in contact with another. ‘cause you know the disease in its early stages is really asymptomatic. I mean the people who catch the disease in the early stages, in its incubation period, many people are asymptomatic. It’s when it reaches peak period that it’s going to weigh you down. 

“…when rules are put in place, the rule is one thing, obeying the rule is another.”

Yusuf Dutse, BHU SRC President.

“So we’re going to try and chip it in to the university that we need to have proper on task screening medical services available in the sense that during resumption, temperatures should be taken, sanitizers-sanitizer dispensers should be put in place around class areas. You know, with a university setting, the thing is you can never say “no crowd”. It’s just impossible because everyone is dynamic, everyone is coming from different places. You know, hostel, class.

So, what can be done is to put preventive measure as I said, sanitizers, the medical staff. In fact, when I resumed that first week of resumption, sanitizers were put everywhere. When you go into the clinic, you’re sanitizing. So, if they can put the basic precautionary things in place, then like I said, as I said, sanitizers then probably temperature checks, when and where necessary then I believe we should be set to go. As always said, prevention is better than cure so with these preventive measures and to a wide extent, students should also be very careful of where they’re going to, what they’re going to do, the people around them you might have coughed and so on. So that in my own lane is what I would chip into the school and we as the council, (SRC) we’ll also find a way to probably simplify the sanitizing process so, if need arises and need be, we may be the ones to put these sanitizing dispensers around school and keep them stuffed with sanitizers. 

“Now it’s left for students not to abuse this and not to hoard the sanitizers. We don’t want a case where, because you know students are really dynamic, so someone will go and carry their own little sanitizer bottle and go and fetch. So, it’s then left for students to be responsible as well in usage, in managing these things.

Pc – Yeah we definitely like the fact that you talked about setting the rules rules and then following the rules. So believe that in as much as the SRC works hand in hand with the school authorities to set these things, it’ll also be good that we sensitize e students as best as we can. As individuals, as groups, the Student Representative council, private campus and any other groups, so that students are very much aware of these measures that will be set in place as well as other things that they can do. So social distancing as much as they can. Avoiding contact with people and all of that so we hope that it works because as you mentioned, everyone is coming with their own mentality. But in the end, we hope it turns out fine. 

Well asides Covid and all that health talk, what would you advice that students be doing during this indefinite period to prepare themselves for academics. Because it can be so dulling having to do school and then that break in transmission so are there things that you advice or that the representative council (SRC) as a body, can help students to be doing so everybody us still up to date when it concerns educations and it becomes easier for us to transition back into our academic lives. 

Yusuf – “I definitely understand. And the prayer is that by God’s grace, we can transition out of this.

“Now, as you have mentioned about the indefinite period which we are going to be at home not doing anything, it’s a serious case of educational block; of educational drought. And so yes, we have actually come up with a certain solution. We are communicating it right now with the departmental associations. It’s still in the ground works. You know online classes are quite “far away” from us at this point in time. I don’t think we have the facilities for that just yet.

“However, we are looking at an alternative being communicating with our heads of departments and lecturers through the department association presidents so that they can communicate through the proper chain of command so the lecturers can send in course outlines, lecture notes and materials which they may have already set up for the semester. And then the HODs collate these from the lecturers, send it to the departmental president who would in turn, try and communicate to our individual class representatives for each level. And once that is done, they send these materials to the course reps and then they disseminate it to their students. So, it’s still something that is in the ground work. You know every department is dynamic.

“So, we’re trying to make sure it fits in for everyone and shape it to suit their departments. So hopefully we want to see how things pan put by the end of this week so we hope to make some progress with that so students can be given the opportunity to study if they want. 

“You know the thing is many students at home may not even read. They complain about not going to school but they’re not going to still pick up their notes and study. They’ll just complain. Nonetheless, for the students who want to learn and for the students who want to gain something this period, then that will be  definitely beneficial for them. 

Pc- Well that’s a great plan. I know that it will definitely help students in covering a lot and keeping our minds active. I really believe that will work. But as you’ve said, it all depends on how students respond to it and if they really take advantage of this opportunity. In as much as we can’t have online classes. We can still use whatever materials we get from lecturers and still use whatever sources to make up for whatever knowledge that we may not have access to at this point. 

Share your thoughts on this pandemic and what you hope the coming academic semester will bring in the comments.

To contact any of the Student representative council members, check out their instagram page @bhusrc

You can also find us on Facebook @Private Campus

And instagram @privatecampus

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