Covid 19 pandemic and it’s implications on Academic Activities in higher institution

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CHAPTER ONE/INTRODUCTION

Background to the study

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). These viruses were originally transmitted from animals to people. SARS, for instance, was transmitted from civet cats to humans while MERS moved to humans from a type of camel. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. The name coronavirus comes from the Latin word corona, meaning crown or halo. Under an electron microscope, the looks like it is surrounded by a solar corona. The novel coronavirus, identified by Chinese authorities on January 7 and since named SARS-CoV-2, is a new strain that had not been previously identified in humans. Little is known about it, although human-to-human transmission has been confirmed.

Chinese health authorities are still trying to determine the origin of the virus, which they say likely came from a seafood market in Wuhan, China where wildlife was also traded illegally. On February 7, Chinese researchers said the virus could have spread from an infected animal species to humans through illegally-trafficked pangolins, which are prized in Asia for food and medicine. Scientists have pointed to either bats or snakes as possible sources of the virus.

According to the WHO, signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia, multiple organ failure and even death. Current estimates of the incubation period – the time between infection and the onset of symptoms – range from one to 14 days. Most infected people show symptoms within five to six days. However, infected patients can also be asymptomatic, meaning they do not display any symptoms despite having the virus in their systems. (Wikipedia, 2020)

The number of fatalities from the new coronavirus has overwhelmingly surpassed the toll of the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, which also originated in China. SARS killed about 9 percent of those it infected – nearly 800 people worldwide and more than 300 in China alone. MERS, which did not spread as widely, was more deadly, killing one-third of those infected. As of April 4, more than 60,000 people worldwide have died of COVID-19, the highly infectious respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. The number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 has exceeded 1 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. While the new coronavirus is more widespread than SARS in terms of case numbers, the mortality rate remains considerably lower at approximately 3.4 percent, according to the WHO. Scientists around the globe are racing to develop a vaccine but have warned it is not likely one will be available for mass distribution before 2021. There have been five global health emergencies since 2005 when the declaration was formalized: swine flu in 2009, polio in 2014, Ebola in 2014, Zika in 2016 and Ebola again in 2019.

As of April 13, more than 70,000 people worldwide have died of COVID-19, the highly infectious respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. The number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 has exceeded 1 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Countries around the world are scrambling to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. This outbreak of covid-19 is a global health emergency, the WHO said on January 30, raising the alarm further on March 11 when it declared the crisis a pandemic. (Wikipedia, 2020)

Presently, COVID-19 has spread to about 200 Countries in the World including Nigeria. Nigeria is a country located in West Africa. The official name of the country is the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The country has a population of 188,462,640 people, making it the 7th most populous country in the world. In terms of area, it is the 32nd largest country at 356,669 square miles. The country is a federal presidential republic with a president and vice president. The capital city is Abuja. On 28 January 2020, the Federal government of Nigeria assured citizens of the country of its readiness to strengthen surveillance at five international airports in the country to prevent    the    spread    of     coronavirus.     The     government     announced     the     airports as Enugu, Lagos, Rivers, Kano and the FCT. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control also announced same day that they had already set up coronavirus group and was ready to activate its incident system if any case emerged in Nigeria. On 31 January 2020, following the developments of COVID-19 pandemic in mainland China and other countries worldwide, the federal government of Nigeria set up a Coronavirus Preparedness Group to mitigate the impact of the virus if it eventually spreads to the country. On the same day, the World Health Organization listed Nigeria among other 13 African countries identified as high-risk for the spread of the virus. (Wikipedia, 2020)

On 27 February, Nigeria confirmed its first case in Lagos State, an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria had returned on 25 February from Milan, Italy through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, fell ill on 26 February and was transferred to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing. Presently, Nigeria is having 199 covid-19 cases, two death and twenty recovered. In order to contain the spread of the virus in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Education has directed all educational institutions in Nigeria to shut down and allow students to go home as cases of reported COVID-19 increased to 13. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, told reporters on 19 March that the directive was part of the country’s overall strategy to contain the spread of the virus. Nigeria joins the growing list of countries in Africa which have closed schools and universities. Before the official announcement by the permanent secretary, most universities had already sent their students home. (Wikipedia, 2020)

Education is administered by the federal, state and local governments. The Federal Ministry of Education is responsible for overall policy formation and ensuring quality control, but is primarily involved with tertiary education. School education is largely the responsibility of state (secondary) and local (elementary) governments. The country is multilingual, and home to more than 250 different ethnic groups. The languages of the three largest groups, the Yoruba, the Ibo, and the Hausa, are the language of instruction in the earliest years of basic instruction; they are replaced by English in Grade Nigeria’s education system encompasses three different sectors: basic education (nine years), post-basic/senior secondary education (three years), and tertiary education (four to six years, depending on the program of study). According to Nigeria’s latest National Policy on Education (2004), basic education covers nine years of formal (compulsory) schooling consisting of six years of elementary and three years of junior secondary education. Post-basic education includes three years of senior secondary education. The direction that all educational institutions in Nigeria should be shut down and allow students to go home as a measure to contain the spread of the virus. This thesis is aim to find out Covid 19 pandemic and it’s implications on Academic Activities in higher institution

 Statement of the Problem

194 school shutting down may cause not only loss of learning temporarily but also further misfortune in human capital and decreased economic opportunities over the long term. n addition to closing schools, countries are exploring options for remote learning and the use of other educational resources to mitigate the loss of learning. This involves capitalizing on work already started and addressing ever-present challenges like degrees of accessibility within communities to ensure equity in accessing quality education. The life-threatening nature and rapid transmission of this disease have been felt globally as it significantly affects global education systems, especially in African countries. Numerous African Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and other educational institutions have been ordered to close in order to manage the spread of the virus. UNESCO estimated that 776.7 million students will be obstructed worldwide by the closure of schools resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. As of March 28, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic affected more than 1.6 billion children and youth be out of school in 161 nations, including Nigeria. This is nearly 80% of the world’s enlisted students. In developing and less developed nations, the circumstance is extremely blended and on the off chance that we don’t act suitably, the immense imbalance of chances that exists is unfortunate and unsuitable, to begin with, and may likely intensify. Practically all the States in Nigeria were threatened because of the expedient spread of this lethal coronavirus. To forestall and annihilate the murkiness brought about by the Covid-19, the Showing the extraordinary worry towards students, teachers, and different partners, numerous circulars, broadcast, and letters were given by the pertinent stakeholders such as the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Ministry of Information, and so on. Then again, the lockdown time frame has caused some extreme issues, for example, irregular lectures, postponement of exams, postponement of students’ projects and other educational activities, which may alter the academic year calendar (Gupta et al., 2020). Statement of the Problem: The closure of schools, colleges, and universities by the Federal and State government was an urgent need of the current situation which prevailed in most States in Nigeria. Nigerian Government has started taking preventive decisions on COVID-19 just after WHO recognized it as a pandemic disease. However, the shutdown of most of the Schools and colleges in Lagos, Kano, and FCT, in which the Academic year almost gets over by February and March. Also, it is seen that many colleges and schools have almost completed their academic syllabus and were to concentrate on scheduling their final exams before the decisions taken by the Nigerian Government for closing down the educational institutions commenced. The affected schools and institutions, had to announce for either cancellation or re-scheduling of exam dates, and other school activities, so as to cortile the spread of the virus. Considering this, the study is conducted to critically assess Covid 19 pandemic and it’s implications on Academic Activities in higher institution

Objectives of the study

  • To examined the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on teaching and learning of higher education students in Nigeria
  • To analyze the actions and decisions taken by the Government for the intervention on the Covid-19 pandemic in higher education in Nigeria.
  • To proffer a solution that will curtail future rise of pandemic which may hinder academic activities