Between January 18 and 19, 2013, the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) will register another milestone in its determination to reinventing a new dawn in Nigeria's human capital development calculus as it marks, with modest pride, its second convocation.
The need to make education affordable and accessible to every Nigerian, especially the working class, cannot be over emphasized. And since 2001, the NOUN has not only keep to its overriding objective of expanding the nexus of knowledge but has also continued to keep pace with dynamics of modern learning techniques by increasing equitable and meaningful access to knowledge, skills and learning through the adoption of open learning principles and distance education methods through which any graduate of NOUN can always compete favourably in the global intellectual equation. It is apparent that the Open and Distance Learning programmes being administered by NOUN are fast reducing the quality manpower deficit in Nigeria.
With over 50 programmes, 750 courses, and a student population of above 120,000, NOUN is, no doubt, responding adequately to the challenges of human capital development in Nigeria. NOUN has thrown up a new vista of hope in our national knowledge building trajectory via its open learning approaches, because it has demonstrated great potential for increasing openness in learning, and has also been shown to be a cost-effective method of education. Indeed, distance and open education as being carried out by the National Open University of Nigeria can be described as a collection of methods for the provision of structured learning aimed at creating a quality learning environment using an appropriate combination of different learning resources, tutorial support, lecture materials, and practical sessions.
As the population of Nigeria becomes more involved in lifelong learning beyond the normal schooling age, institutions can benefit financially, and adult learning business courses may be particularly lucrative. Distance education programs can act as a catalyst for institutional innovation and as such must be encouraged.
The wide and varied nature of intellectual and administrative leadership initiated and sustained by the incumbent Vice Chancellor of NOUN, Professor Ado Vincent Tenebe, since assuming office in 2010 showed that he is equal to the task. It is indeed historical that NOUN has been very successful in the NUC University-wide accreditation exercise thereby restoring the confidence of students in all courses being run by the institution.
It is my hope that NOUN will take the centre stage in bringing education and learning closer to the people through ICT initiative and expansion, and this is where government at all levels can render assistance.
Ibrahim Muhammed Sani Hadejia, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Makurdi Study Centre, Benue State