The Vice Chancellor, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Professor Abdalla Adamu, has lauded the United Nations’ Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), for its role in advancing the country’s education through Open Educational Resource (OER).
Adamu stated this at a ceremony in honour of the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, during her visit to NOUN headquarters in Abuja.
He said “the largest support that UNESCO gives now is what we call Open Educational Resources, is an online depositary of a huge number of education resources and the beauty about all these resources is that they are free, anybody can access them and this is part of the equity drive in order to make sure that people around the world have access to education.
“NOUN is network to OER and UNESCO in order to provide thousands of Nigerians with the opportunity to quality educational materials and the beauty of it is that these educational materials are not really targeted towards examination, they are targeted towards general knowledge to support what they already know.
According to him, “one of the OER that the university is currently running is history and philosophy of science. People talk about science, without really knowing what science is all about. The OER that we are running will now provide people with the opportunity to know the history of science, the evolution of science, the direction and the nature of science and with time, we will come up with more in financial study, peace and conflict resolution and other areas” he stated.
He stated that the idea behind OER is to generate a knowledge base so that people will become more and more educated while hoping that when the university eventually mature into a package call i-NOUN, virtually all the OER will also be downloaded into the I-pack so that people will gain access.
Speaking on NOUN’s challenges, the VC said Part of the problem that the school is facing is the idea of Open and Distance Learning (ODL), noting that in typical African education system, people are use to a learning process where you sit in front of a teacher which the ODL discourages.
He also stated that it is the misconception about what ODL means that prevents students from going to law school.
He however expressed hope that the with the clarification about NOUN by the NUC, the university graduates will soon be going to law school and become lawyers.
The Executive Secretary, National University Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, said the commission is collaborating with the UNESCO to ensure the resuscitation of the five UNESCO Chairs and secure even more, to be cited in different universities across the country.
“According to him, some universities succeeded in securing a few UNESCO chair in the past but for one reason or another, there is some misunderstanding and UNESCO found some of the occupants as non-performance, but we believe it had nothing to do with competence.
We have now already secured an appointment to go and hold discussion at the high level with UNESCO to ensure the resuscitation of not only the five chairs that we have lost recently but to look for more chair in different area to go and be cited in different universities in the country.”
Speaking on NOUN’s acceptability by Nigerians, he said people are not use to coming in terms with new system of education, stating that gradually, Nigerians will come to realize that it is the way of the future.
On her part, the Director General of UNESCO, Mrs Irina Bokova, applauded Nigeria it its commitment to education, equality and social justice, saying it is key to sustainable development.
“When we think about equity, social justice to reach the marginalized otherwise we will not improve the society and even not have competitive economy because investing in education is about making an economic to be competitive, just and moving forward with sustainable development,” she stated.
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