The Chairman, Governing Council, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Professor Peter Okebukola, has reaffirmed NOUN’s commitment to enrol up to one million students across all its study centres nationwide by 2024.
He also said graduates from the university would soon be mobilised for the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme and admitted to the Law School as applicable, noting that discussions concerning both issues had already reached advanced stages with the relevant authorities.
Professor Okebukola, a former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), gave the hint at a news conference during the 57th council’s meeting held at the former headquarters of the university on Victoria Island, Lagos, on Monday.
According to him, NOUN at the moment has a total of 550,000 students’ population which is 50,000 more than that of last year enrollment who are running undergraduate, postgraduate and diploma programmes across all its current 81 active study centres nationwide, and that 53 per cent of the figure are females.
He explained that the proposed one million enrollment which he said is in accordance with and follow-up to the ministerial strategic plan to increase access of qualified Nigerians to university education should not be interpreted to mean that the university would compromise standards in any way.
He said NOUN with quality assurance was already re-positioning itself not only to meaningfully improve the quality of learning delivery mechanism but also seeks to become one of the best open and distance learning universities globally.
To this end, he pointed out, the university is set to upgrade all its study centres and in phases beginning from next year and also engage in full-scale capacity building programmes leading by its World Bank-funded Africa Centre of Excellence for Technology –Enhanced Learning (ACETEL) for all categories of staff.
“We have also secured approval from NUC of additional 11 undergraduates and nine postgraduate programmes, bringing the total number of accredited programmes running by the university to 46 while we intensify collaboration with some local and international institutions, including Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronicstics” he added.
While commending the Senate of the university and its leadership, led by Professor Abdalla Adamu, the vice-chancellor, who was also at the press briefing, Okebukola, a Professor of science education, said a total of 649 inmates are studying in various correctional centres with study centres in the country.
He said the university granted full scholarship for such willing and qualified individuals notwithstanding courses to study and at what levels up to doctoral degrees.
He, however, promised that NOUN would not compromise quality across its tripartite mandates of teaching, research and community engagements.