THE National Universities Commission (NUC) has commended the ongoing reforms at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), saying the country stands to benefit massively from the initiatives both in the quality of educational delivery and increase of enrolment of students into the university.
Deputy Executive Secretary of NUC, Dr Suleiman Ramon-Yusuf, who spoke against the backdrop of inadequate access to university education in Nigeria, lauded the flexibility of the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) programme.
He noted that the commission had raised the bar of ODL in the country by ensuring that the standard and curriculum of regular open and distance learning programme were the same, stressing that NUC had always insisted on parity of esteem.
He added that if the teachers in ODL implemented the minimum academic benchmark curriculum as envisaged by NUC, there would be no significant difference between graduates of regular face-to-face programme and ODL programme.
According to him, the gap usually observed in the system was between the implemented curriculum and achieved curriculum which had a lot to do with the instrumentality of delivery or the ability of the teacher to deliver or the study environment.
He said NUC raised the entry requirements for degree programmes through ODL to five credits, including Mathematics and English Language in order to guarantee parity of esteem or respect for the programme.
While describing education at all levels as a chain that was as strong as its weakest point, he said no level of education should be ignored, adding that if the country ignored primary education and focuses on the tertiary, it would have no foundation upon which to build.
Ramon-Yusuf noted that there are approved 11 distance learning centres in Nigeria, adding that NUC was very strict about the admission of students because ODL could either be a weapon of mass instruction or weapon of mass destruction.
He expressed delight over the reforms ongoing at NOUN under the chairmanship of Professor Peter Okebukola, stressing that Nigeria stood to benefit immensely when they were completed.