Pan-Atlantic University (PAU), an institution in Lekki, Lagos, has entered partnership with telecom companies in a bid to provide students with free data for e-learning.

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As schools across Nigeria had shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak, educators have been exploring online learning alongside the use of both TV and radio platforms to deliver lectures to students.

In a letter obtained by TheCable on Tuesday, Juan Manuel Elegido, vice-chancellor of PAU, addressed students of the institution on measures being taken amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He said PAU had initiated a partnership with MTN Nigeria — while talks with other telecommunication providers are ongoing — to provide free 3 gigabytes of data subscription weekly to all its students.

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He added that the new development is effective from May 11th.

“Considering the impact of the pandemic, what other universities are doing, as well as statements by the Nigerian authorities, we can assume that we’ll be unable to fully resume on the campus for several months,” Elegido said.

“It also seems extremely likely that we may well still be working online, fully or partially, at the beginning of the next academic session.

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“Therefore, if we want to minimize the disruption to everybody’s learning and academic progress, and to the final year students’ graduation times, we all need to make a serious effort to adjust to the current challenges and keep upgrading the way we teach, learn, collaborate and work online.

“We realize this adjustment has been demanding for some students. We have tried to listen to the feedback we have received from, and we’ve endeavoured to adjust our methods and demands.

“To make things easier, we’re introducing a policy of giving data to ALL students. With effect from May 11th, we will be making available 3 gigabytes of data per week to all students at no extra cost to them.

“We intend to implement this policy through various telecom companies. For now, we only have a definite offer from MTN, but we are still discussing with the other telecom companies so that each student can access the package via his/her preferred network.”

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Speaking on the possible geographical differences in terms of internet access strength, Elegido said that N1,500 weekly allowance would be given to students on full or 75 percent scholarship.

The vice-chancellor also explained that the initiative would adopt the practice of providing recorded slides to be made available to students alongside pre-recorded zoom sessions to save data.

PAU’s new-found strategy comes after the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the University of Ibadan decried lack of government funding despite FG’s e-learning directive.

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