No fewer than 1,000 new intakes of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Abuja Study Centre participated in the 2015 matriculation of the institution on Saturday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ceremony was presided over by Prof. Abubakar Suleiman, the Director of the centre who stood in for the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Vincent Tenebe.
In his message at the occasion, the Vice-Chancellor said the institution had democratized and liberalised university education in the country.
He urged the students to abide by the rules and regulations governing the institution as failure to do so would lead to expulsion.
Tenebe said the university made maximum use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in instructional delivery.
“Apart from instructional materials in print, audio CDs and Braille, there are ICT platforms such as i-learn, which provides online interactive platform for students to interact with their subject facilitators and fellow students.
“Through i-learn, students can post questions to subject facilitators which will be promptly attended to and returned.
“Students can also submit Tutor-Marked Assignments (TMAS) and access results; there is also Mobile LMS which enables easy registration of courses and which can also be used to make payments.
“There is full deployment of ICT, so dear students, prepare for ICT; in NOUN you cannot afford not to be.’’
The VC said all academic programmes of the institutions have been strengthened with the engagement of well qualified and experienced academic staff.
Tenebe said more study centres were underway and that the number of centres across the country had risen to 67.
According to him, the matriculation is taking place across the 36 states and FCT, adding that the entire student population of the Abuja is over 10,000.
He said facilities were being put in place as the students population increased so that the carrying capacity would match the number of students.
Prof. Godswill Obioma, former Executive Secretary, Nigerian Education Research and Development Council (NERDC), Sheda, Abuja, said NOUN had created more space for learning.
“There are issues of conventional universities not having enough space for people.
“Students get disenfranchised from getting into the conventional system not because they are not qualified but because the spaces are not available; NOUN has created a very big space.
“NOUN is the greatest thing that has happened in this country in term of space for tertiary education; once you are qualified, you do not have restrictions, it is e-learning.’’
One of the students, Miss Susan Ogbehe, told NAN that she chose to study in NOUN because it offered her the opportunity to work and learn.
Ogbehe said that with NOUN, she could study and learn at her pace from anywhere and also earn a living and sponsor herself.
The Lafia Study Centre also matriculated 187 students for its 2015/2016 academic session.
Tenebe was represented by Mrs. Rhoda Ezim, Lafia Study Centre Director.
He said the institution emerged as the first university in West Africa to join the Open Educational Resources (OER), network.
He explained that the network was a partnership of leading universities in the world on development and promotion of Open Educational Resources.
“This partnership will further propel the university’s vision of providing highly accessible and enhanced quality education anchored on social justice, equity and equality for all who seek knowledge”, Tenebe said.
He said the institution was working in concert with other distance learning institutions across the world to boost its educational activities.
“NOUN students regularly take part in the annual International Students Exchange Programme (ISEP), at the Shanghai Open University, China.
“Student-participants are exposed to various e-tech educational innovations and cross cultural and exciting social connections during the two-week programme”, Tenebe added.
He maintained that the institution’s giant strides at the national and international levels would compel the government to closely examine some specific areas of contention in relation to students, aspirations and desires.