Stakeholders endorse virtual learning, private funding for tertiary education
Speakers at the graduation of Nexford University’s first class of Nigerian MBA students, including a former Education Minister, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, Country Director, Ms. Olamidun Majekodunmi and Pastor Ituah Ighodalo have called for enhanced access through virtual learning and private partnership education funding model for tertiary institutions.
About 200 students graduated from the virtual MBA programme of the university. Majekodunmi disclosed that the idea of having online MBA was conceived five years ago.
She stated: “I was participating in my own MBA graduation. I had some industry experience, I felt learned but, most of all, I was compelled by my passion and how I could apply my newly acquired skills to African development.
“The answer came while working post-MBA in Education at Huron Consulting Group where I met Nexford’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, Fadl Al Tarzi.
“Then the idea of a next generation university, where learners progress, based on competencies, high-quality learning for today’s world came up.”
Majekodunmi called for a new way of learning that could change the way higher education is delivered. On his part, Ighodalo noted that COVID-19 pandemic has made virtual education part of the new normal.
“It is important for us to understand where the world is going now, which is that all of a sudden, there is a huge shift from natural resources being the primary source of the country’s wealth to human resources. That is why the work Nexford is doing is very important.
“In the next 15 years, we are going to be over 300 million people and we don’t have any scalable infrastructure for educating our children. In the last 18 months, many young people have not been able to go to aschool because of the pandemic and strike by university teachers. Online education is fast becoming a lifeline for our schools,” Ighodalo added.
Earlier, Ezekwesili, who is also a member of the university’s advisory board, noted that public-private partnership in the nation’s education sector has become imperative.
The former minister said it is Important to address issues of access, relevance and quality. She said: “It requires also that government as regulator of education, standard sectors and private sector, supports the kind of quality faculty that teaches the kind of things that Nexford is able to teach.
“Every university system is determined by the quality of its faculty and curriculum. If you do not work with your private sector for tertiary education, you will be producing graduates that have no business in the economy; so, they will become jobless. It is important to bear that in mind in the way we design education policies,” she added.