For the 2k21 set, academic life came to a sudden hold in the middle of march when the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan decided to suspend their clinical training. This was done on the basis that they were scheduled to resume their pathology and pharmacology teachings –better known as block two –at the time, and this was made impossible by the ongoing protest action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
The natural loophole would have been to continue clinical training as most medical schools in the public university sphere do when tussles and impasses between the union and government act to prolong an already lengthy course, but the escape was blocked due to the verdict of the College that the students lacked the prerequisite knowledge to further their clinical training after completing the first two clinical rotations. This view was spearheaded by (you guessed it) the Department of Pediatrics, who claimed that there was no use in teaching students who were devoid of basic knowledge after the last group completed their rotation with them (though the end of posting scores beg to differ). Consequently, the 2k21 students were put out of school for the eight-week duration intended for the block posting.
There were strong feelings concerning this decision, especially as the pleas of the class representatives that the class be allowed to continue clinical rotations fell on deaf ears. On account of this, the press has conducted a mini-survey to garner the thoughts and feelings of those affected as regards the issue now that the duration for the posting has run out and academic activities have resumed.
The first question asked was how the impromptu break was perceived: Based on the responses gotten, less than half of the class believes that the break was a pure waste of their time. Rather, most (53%) concede that while it was time wasted, it was also a needed break from their strenuous clinical activity.
Question 2: What did you do with the time?
Based on the above, it’s clear to see why many considered it a waste of time. But is it really such a bad thing to rest and pamper oneself every now and then?
Question 3: What hobby trade did you explore?
These were some of the responses:
- The guitar
- Tutorial taking
- Digital marketing
Question 4: Is there anything else you wished you had done with the time?
Study more, 66% said, while others claimed they wished they had prayed or slept more.
Question 5: Did you go home at any period during the break?
With hardly anything to do other than rotate between Fanawole and Prestige foods, it was no wonder that 88% of the total number interviewed admitted to going home at some point or the other over the break.
Question 6: Do you think COMUI did the right thing in suspending clinical postings?
On this point, mixed views exist, however the majority (77%) believe it was not the best choice. The correctness of the suspension is even more questionable when one considers the fact that the students were recently made to resume the next item on their calendar, the next clinical posting, still without having done block 2, raising the question, was there even a point to the wait?
Question 7: Do you think your current posting would have been better with the knowledge of block 2?
Question 8: Do you think all block postings ought to be done before clinical postings?
76.5% believe so.
Question 9: While that remains in the realm of retrospective wishes, 2k21 students were also asked how the long break has currently affected their postings. These are their comments:
“I’m almost always completely lost.”
“Made me too relaxed.”
“Didn’t remember how to clerk for the first few weeks back.”
“I’ve forgotten how much I feel like a fish on a tree when I’m in school and now all of what was in my head before the break is gone.”
Question 10: Lastly, when asked if the ASUU strike is still presently affecting their posting in any way, many agreed that it was.
“We are no longer having core lectures and I think it’s important to have them as we do the postings.”
“We can’t go on home visits in Paediatrics and we haven’t been having core lectures.”
“The strike is making us ‘overwork’ in the clinical postings.”
“Consultants don’t want to teach us.”
“Some say it might affect our radiotherapy lectures.”
The overworking is understandable, as surgery and medicine students now have to endure protracted surgeries and endless ward rounds with no escape of core lectures to feed the belly or rest the legs.
So there you have it, how the strike has affected the 2k21 class. We need not elaborate on how it has impacted the 2k18 and 2k17 classes who wait indeterminately for exams that may pop up around the corner or may be waiting months ahead. The uncertainty alone is enough to induce anxiety symptoms. How long before this strike grinds us all to a halt? Alas, the only thing left to do is to pray that a solution presents itself soon and life resumes some semblance of normalcy.
– OPEOLU OREOLUWA