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As colleges remain close…

USL opts for online lectures

NOVEMBER 20, 2014 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

As the Ebola outbreak shows no immediate signs of abating, with scores of persons being infected every day, the University of Sierra Leone (USL) yesterday announced it will introduce online lectures for students.

Schools and colleges have remained closed in Sierra Leone as the Ebola virus continues to kill victims. With more than 1,200 dead already and infection rate spiking above 5,000, Education Ministry and USL administrators have been reluctant to sanction the reopening of schools and colleges.

Speaking during a press conference at the University Building on Fourah Bay College campus, Vice Chancellor and Principal of Fourah Bay College, Professor Ekundayo J.D. Thompson, said the three key functions of the university – teaching, research and community services – have been affected by the outbreak of the Ebola disease, making learning difficult for students in the country.

He revealed that USL administrators had hung heads and came out with a solution that would enable students receive lectures wherever they are by using social media and radio stations.

“Education is business and the students are our customers….Since the Public State of Health Emergency will not allow students to be going to the campuses for lectures we now intend to reach them with their lecture notes by using the social media,” Professor Thomson said.

According to USL Registrar, Sorie N. Dumbuya, they like other institutions have been gravely affected by the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, putting paid to the commencement of the 2014-1015 session, which should have started on the first Saturday of October 2014.

He assured USL’s readiness to commence the 2014-2015 sessions when the situation improves, and that if the session begins in early 2015, the university would still endeavour to run all its programmes with the full cooperation of faculty and staff members, all of whom have been informed to make requisite preparations for reopening.

He added that: “…the University will use the following means to reach its students: by uploading lecture notes on the university website; providing hard copies of lecture notes; burning of lecture notes on CDs and distributing the latter so far as is possible; lecturing through the social media; radio programmes; making available to medical students the telemedicine facility available to medicine facility; providing where possible audio visual materials for students.”

The USL comprise Fourah Bay College – the oldest college in sub-sahara Africa – College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences and the Institute of Public Administration

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