THE Vice-Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Professor Abdalla Uba has said that the Open and Distance Learning mode and degrees obtained from the National Open University of Nigeria are now globally competitive.
He, however, admitted that the University had suffered image problems years back because of the misconception of the operation of the University.
Adamu, spoke during the weekend in Abuja when he hosted the leadership of Education Correspondents of Nigeria (ECAN) led by its Chairman, Mr Chuks Ukwuatu on courtesy visit.
He disclosed that the management of the institution has concluded plans to embark on nationwide advocacy campaign on the activities of the University in order to invest more confidence in the Open University System.
The Vice Chancellor also hinted that the massive movement of younger students into the university has motivated NOUN to change its strategy by taking ownership of its demographic data thereby saving cost and building more confidence in the system.
He said: “NOUN in the last one year has gone through tremendous transformation and you will agree with me that in the last 15years of its existence it has also suffered image issues”
“People tend to look down on NOUN degrees and part of the reasons why they do so is that NOUN gives responsibility for learning on the learner and not on the system. This is what scares some people. We like the idea of mentorship or being guided but the whole idea is for you to study on your own to become what you want to become,” he said.
According to him, NOUN was built on two philosophies, one of which is to be an independent learner inscribed as Work & Learn motto of the University, adding that when the Open University was established at the beginning, it targeted those working in the Pubic Service who could not drop their work and to take up full time academic programmes in conventional universities.
He, however, disclosed that about six years after, there was the upsurge in youth seeking admissions into the University as a result of their inability to secure placement in conventional universities after several years of attempts at the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) entrance examination.
He said: “Something happened in NOUN which nobody anticipated. Many high school students who finished and sat for JAMB examination and could not get admission into universities of their choice move in droves to NOUN.
“Maybe about 1 million kids applied and maybe 300,000 pass and 700,000 failed and out of the 300,000 that passed, the University A will say I will take only 150, and so on.
“So, there is a huge number of youth who want to study and after two or three times of trial in JAMB and not getting through, they suddenly realised that there is the National Open University as an alternative. They all move in a massive drove and their movement into the University caught us unaware.
“Certainly, the demographic has changed and we are no longer dealing with civil servants but dealing with young kids who are into new technology and NOUN is thus motivated to change its strategies by taking ownership of its demographic data by so doing we were able to save cost and build confidence,” the VC said.
He vowed to convert NOUN to a world-class University, saying already several African countries including Rwanda, Tanzania, Ghana, Togo, Liberia and few others have requested the professional assistance of NOUN in setting up their Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system.
Earlier, the Chairman ECAN,Chuks Ukwuatu, stated intention of partnering with the University to help reposition the university and to be able to convert the NOUN to a World Class University.
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