Fed Govt Strengthens ‘Open’ Degrees

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With the Federal Government strengthening the structure for quality assurance of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) education through the National Universities Commission, the Education Minister, Malam Adamu Adamu, has assured Nigerians of the quality of degrees obtained through ODL.

Adamu doused fears or doubts in some quarters as to the quality of degrees obtained via ODL compared to those from conventional institutions.

Speaking in Abuja at a ones day symposium on policy and practice in ODL organised by the NUC and University of London, Adamu, who was represented by the Director, Tertiary Education, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. John Ojo, said the government was working hard to ensure more people embrace the ODL because of its potential to provide access to university education.

“Government is lending strong support to the ongoing efforts of the NUC to promote widespread acceptability of the Open and Distance Learning mode of education within our country and douse any remaining embers of doubt in some quarters as to its quality and parity with degrees obtained via the conventional face-to-face mode.”

Adamu said the restriction in the number of students of conventional universities meant that many candidates are denied opportunity to get into school yearly.

He said that Joint Admission Matriculation Board, (JAMB) statistics showed that about 70 percent of qualified applicants are unable to gain admission into Nigerian universities annually.

The shortfall, the minister said, had resulted in loss of billions of naira yearly through educational tourism.

However, he said the enrolment capacity of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) exceeded the total capacity of the five first generation universities in Nigeria considerably.

There is no doubt the ODL has the potentials to significantly address the problem of inadequate access.  The National Open University of Nigeria, (NOUN), the only uni-mode open university in Nigeria, as far back as 2013 had student enrolment figures of over 308, 000 with about 180, 000 being active students.”

He urged all universities to comply with regulatory guidelines for qualitative development of the Nigeria Universities System as laid down by government through NUC.

The NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, said the symposium was a testament to the fact that the Commission was dogged in providing quality input to the delivery of degree programmes irrespective of the mode.

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