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OOU Begins open and Distance Learning

Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye is set to commence academic activities at its Open and Distance Learning Centre following approval by the National Universities Commission (NUC). The approval is sequel to the recommendation by the commission’s panel which earlier carried out resource verification at the University in preparation for the commencement of the Centre’s programmes.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde, broke the news of the NUC approval during the maiden meeting of the newly appointed Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Prof. Toyin Ashiru, with the University Management.

According to the Vice-Chancellor, the open and distance learning programme was in line with the University’s mission to provide the best educational experience for students, prospective admission seekers and members of the public.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Prof. Deji Agboola

The Open and Distance Learning Centre (ODLC), according to a letter dated 29th August, 2022 which was addressed to the Vice-Chancellor, will commence operations with BSc Accounting programme only. The programme will be run “via the ICT Enabled Supported Blended Learning model of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode of delivery.” The letter was signed on behalf of the NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, by the Director, Open Distance and e-Learning, Engr. Kayode Odedina. It partly read, “I am pleased to inform the Vice-Chancellor that the Commission has given approval to Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye Centre for Open and Distance Learning (CODL) to commence academic activities. The approval is sequel to the validated status recommended by the Panel that visited the proposed Centre from 23rd to 26th June, 2022.”

“The Centre may therefore commence operations with BSc Accounting programme only via the ICT Enabled Supported Blended Learning model of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode of delivery.”

“The University is enjoined to ensure total compliance with the requirements for running ODL programmes in Nigerian Universities. The Commission also expects the University to impress it upon the Centre the necessity to effect the recommendations made by the Panel in the attached Technical Report.”

“Furthermore, addition of new programmes will be on a programme by programme basis and subject to pre-assessment and approval by the Commission. The University should be reminded that there will be periodic monitoring of the Centre to ensure that there is no deviation from acceptable best practices.” Speaking on the development, the Vice-Chancellor asked interested and suitably qualified candidates to embrace open and distance learning which enables students to learn remotely while also assuring that all machineries had been set in motion by the University to ensure its smooth take-off. To this end, the University Management has appointed Prof. Muhammed Oladoja, a Professor of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development and former Director  of General Nigerian Studies (GNS), as the Director of Open and Distance Learning Centre in the institution. Giving further insight into the programme, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Prof. Deji Agboola, said open and distance learning is significant because it is flexible and enables more people to have access to University education. According to him, many candidates that otherwise would have been denied study opportunity due to admission quota now have a chance. Prof. Agboola explained that with open and distance learning, candidates in foreign countries can easily apply to study at OOU, adding that the programme will also encourage more visiting Professors and foreign-based academics to take up teaching in the University. This, he noted, would significantly increase the webometric ranking of the University. He said, “Over the years, the University has been having applicants more than the required quota given to us by JAMB. Our quota every year is 6,500 and the people that have been subscribing to our University as a result of good performance have increased tremendously.”

The Director, ODL, Prof. Muhammed Oladoja

“Every year we’ve been having no fewer than 25,000 to 30,000 students applying to OOU. And even when we do our post-UTME, majority of them actually pass. We still have more than 20,000 of them passing the exam but we cannot take everybody. So, it shows clearly that every year, more than 14,000 students are denied the opportunity of having tertiary education.”

“The Vice-Chancellor, in his wisdom, in order to accommodate more asked us to commence the process of having open and distance learning so that more candidates can benefit from the vision of our founding fathers.  Today, I’m bold to say that more than 14,000 students will be allowed to come to OOU without any hindrance in addition to the 6,500 quota that the NUC has given to us,” he declared. As regards adequate manpower and requisite technology to drive the open and distance learning programme, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor assured that the University is up to the task.

“If we don’t have the facilities to start, NUC would not have given approval in the first place,” Prof. Agboola observed. “The University has a dedicated server for the open and distance learning. It is one of the conditions for you to start the programme.” He recalled how the University made appreciable progress on internet access in recent years with the transition from radio wave to optic fibre which brought about efficient internet service with great speed.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor further disclosed that the University Management had greatly invested in the open and distance learning programme by exposing all the staff involved to series of local and international trainings, especially on content development. Although the University’s ODLC is starting operations with Accounting programme only, Prof. Agboola hinted that more programmes would be added in due course subject to approval by the regulatory authorities. While emphasising the importance of open and distance learning in present-day University education, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor remarked that “even if there is pandemic tomorrow, it’s not going to affect students in the Open and Distance Learning Programme.”

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