NOUN, World Bank partner to educate indigent students
Nigerian financial institution to sponsor 100 IDPs
The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), is in talks with the World Bank over the sponsorship of indigent students across the country, who are desirous of acquiring tertiary education.
Vice chancellor of the school, Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, who made the revelation at the first Distinguished Lecture Series of the university held in Abuja recently, stated that the sponsorship was necessary because it would enable some poor people to better their lot, stressing that NOUN was willing to help them as part of its mandate to educate one million people, especially those from remote places and the poor.
Adamu also revealed that a Nigerian bank has also indicated interest in avail poor Nigerians tertiary education by sponsoring 100 persons from Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps nationwide.
Adamu said, “We mentioned to one of the leading banks in Nigeria about the challenges that we face educating people in IDP camps and our willingness to help them. And the bank said it would sponsor 100 IDPs. We are working out the modalities to enrol them in NOUN and the bank will pay.
“World Bank is also suggesting we talk to the states and get them to provide us with their own students. The World Bank has an education facility, which the states can access. The bank is not giving any money to NOUN or the states, but when the students are offered admission, it will pay their fees,” he said.
The vice chancellor this was an opportunity to educate Nigerians massively, implored corporate and international agencies to follow the World Bank’s lead in helping the unreached in Nigeria to acquire tertiary education.
He enumerated those who are yet to be reached with education in the country to include artisans, transport and restaurant workers, salon operators and others, who have had primary and secondary education as well as the basic qualification for tertiary education, but are financially handicapped to do so.
President and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Professor Asha Kanwar, who was the guest lecturer, said Nigeria must seriously consider the option of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) for its human and capital development.
According to her, this is necessary as it has the potential to pull millions of unemployed people, including the youths who are most affected, out of poverty. She also noted that since only a negligible percentage of applicants for tertiary education in the country were able to get admission, the ODL option must be considered since its aim is to educate massively.
Kanwar also noted that in order to achieve Goal Four of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of inclusive and equitable quality education by 2030, there must be quality distance learning in tertiary education, with massive open online courses, appropriate financing and use of technology.
“The role of open and distance learning will become more important than ever before. Distance education is becoming the new normal,” Kanwar said, adding that open and distance learning has played a very important role in pulling people out of poverty, especially in other African countries, since practical skills were also taught.
According to her, ODL system in India currently educates about three million students, and the number is increasing. Same for the United Kingdom and all over the world.