The National Universities Commission (NUC) has said that it would soon issue approval for the operation of private open universities in Nigeria.

Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed,, made this known while delivering a goodwill message on Monday, May 1, 2023 at the opening ceremony of the inaugural conference of the Open, Distance and e-Learning Association of Nigeria (ODeLAN), which took place in Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State.

Speaking at the conference which has its theme: “Global Spaces, Local Context: Digital Transformations and Innovation in Open, Distance and e-Learning,” Rasheed, represented by the Director, Open, Distance Learning, Engr. Kayode Odedina, said the commission has continued to roll out measures to boost open and distance education in the country, which would soon witness the debut of private providers in the sub-sector.

“Indeed, early 2022, NUC released three guidelines (although presently taking another look at them) to further aid in expanding access to university education in Nigeria through the instrumentality of Open Distance and e-Learning.

‘”Guidelines for the establishment of Private Open Universities in Nigeria,’ ‘Guidelines for the Provision of TNE in Nigeria,’ ‘Guidelines for e-Learning in Nigerian Universities.’

“With the Guidelines for the establishment of Private Open Universities in Nigeria ready for use, NUC will in no distant future begin to grant approval to interested promoters to start floating private open universities in the country,” the NUC scribe said.

While lamenting that he present number of universities in the country is not enough to accommodate millions of Nigerians yearning for admission, the executive secretary expressed readiness of the university umpire to sustain its collaboration with ODeLAN towards widening access in the Nigerian university system without compromising quality.

“The National Universities Commission is very firm in its position that quality must be maintained in all modes of delivery of university education in the Nigerian University System.

“The state of university education in Nigeria can best be described as one of massive explosion in student enrolment; increasing number of prospective students in the face of inadequate space.

“In contemporary Nigeria, access to university education remains a challenge as over two million applicants seek placement in the over 220 universities in Nigeria annually with less than 30% of the figure eventually gaining the admission,” the NUC boss said.

Rasheed, who was the distinguished guest of honour at the conference, however, said the Federal Government has taken several steps to tackle the challenge of access to universities.

He listed some of the measures taken by government to include establishment of more universities, increase of private universities to 111, promotion of open distance and e-learning, among others.

The ODeLAN conference brought together hundreds of scholars from every part of Nigeria and beyond for the inauguration of a professional body on open, distance and digital learning.



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