By Felix Khanoba
The Vice Chancellor (VC) of University of Abuja (UniAbuja), Professor Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, says the institution has developed a virtual classroom that allows about 5,000 students to take courses from the comfort of their home.
The VC, who said the homegrown virtual classroom has the capacity to accommodate all its students, said part-time academic staff have been lecturing students that enlisted on the platform amid the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Prof. Na’Allah disclosed this during a chat with newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said: “UniAbuja mobilised its in-house skills and expertise and developed a UniAbuja virtual classroom system, which today is fully operational, very strong and we have tested it, we have conducted several pilot studies from April-May this year.
“I am happy to announce that as it is today, the University of Abuja virtual classroom system has piloted several courses taught mainly by adjunct lecturers.
“As I speak today, close to 5,000 students of our university are taking courses through the University of Abuja virtual classroom system.”
While saying some of the courses being taught through the virtual classroom include newly introduced foreign languages programme, engineering, among others, the VC said the University will see come up with a policy that will see to every lecturer taking at least a course through the virtual platform
The VC, who said many academic and non-academic staff have been promoted to higher levels within the last one year, said the University has cleared all the backlog of certificates since inception of the institution, adding that 14,307 of the certificates are now ready for collection.
“Those days are gone when people say I graduated from this university and I have not collected certificates, those days are gone and they are gone forever.
“We are very proud to say this University has finished producing, signed and ready for collection certificates of those who have graduated from the University from 1994 up to 2019. So if you have not collected your certificates, they are ready signed and ready for collection.”
On the amount of grants received by UniAbuja within the last one year, Prof. Na’Allah expressed delight that many academic staff have attracted grants worth millions of dollars from within and outside the shores of the country.
He said the University recently secured a N5 billion grant from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) for infrastructural development, even as he warned those encroaching on the University’s land to be ready to face the wrath of the law.
“This coming year we are going to start the construction of new Senate building of the University, we are going to start work on the construction of our international conference centre, we will also work on our landscape, you should also know we are fencing, people say University of Abuja is porous, people think they can just move in and get a place to stay.
“We contend with people who have become menace to our University, just selling land and buying land. Well, I have news for you, your days are numbered,” he said.
Speaking on the academic programmes that now hold sway in the University, the VC said three brand new faculties-Communication, Pharmacy and Environmental Sciences have been introduced in the institution.
He said a Business School and two new departments: Agricultural Engineering and Tourism and Hospitality, have also been introduced in the University.
“The University of Abuja’s business school is like no other in the Nigeria education system because we are at the Federal capital dealing with agencies of government from legislators, to Presidency, to laboratories, to foreign organisations-virtually every nation of the world has embassies in Abuja.
“The business school is designed to meet world class training in all offices endeavours,” Prof. Na’Allah said, even as he expressed delight that all the University’s academic programmes are accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC), except Computer Science that has a little challenge for now.
On the designation of UniAbuja as TETFund’s Centre of Excellence on Public Governance and Leadership, the VC said the feat has attracted N1 billion grant to the institution in the first instance, saying the University is fully ready to inculcate the needed leadership and governance skills on Nigerians.
Na’Allah who was flanked by other top management staff of the University during the media briefing, said talks are also in top gear with relevant bodies that will see the University running a programme in Aerospace Engineering by next two years, even as he expressed happiness that its Railway Engineering programme will soon take-off with the arrival of needed equipment.