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Varsities’ academic planners urge government to strengthen ODL




The Committee of Directors of Academic Planning of Nigerian Universities (CODAPNU), have urged the Federal Government, through the National Universities Commission (NUC), to increase access to university education, by permitting more government and private universities to run Open and Distance Learning (ODL) programmes.

This suggestion is contained in a communiqué issued by the group, at the end of a recent training workshop, which took place at the University of Abuja.
Signed by the committee chairman, Dr. Akin Adeoye, the communiqué suggested that it was necessary to expand access through ODL, because there were not enough facilities in universities to accommodate all 1.7 million candidates seeking admission annually, just as it urged government to give attention to students-staff ratio in universities.

At the workshop, which was tagged, “Positioning Curriculum Development and Strategic Planning Towards Total Quality Academic Management in the Nigerian University System,” the group stated that Nigerian universities are yet to keep pace with market-driven and job creation requirements of the economy, with respect to their curriculum development, ICT and entrepreneurship, which may lead to unemployabilty of graduates, or unemployment due to other factors in the labour market.

According to the body, “The current carrying capacity for programmes in Nigerian universities is grossly inadequate to cater for the large number of applicants seeking admission into the universities yearly, if the staff /student ratio is to be addressed in line with the best practices in the world.

The situation in the Nigerian university admissions system, where over 1,700, 000 candidates apply for placements and only 450,000 (about 27%) eventually gain admission into the universities calls for great concern,” the communiqué read.

The group, however, commended the efforts of individuals, organisations and stakeholders in creating access to tertiary education through the establishment of private universities, part-time studies, remedial studies and sandwich programmes.

Also commended by the academic planners was “the Federal Government’s efforts in the establishment of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), and her readiness to provide required funding … Our Senior academics should be encouraged to build a culture of serious research, through exchange of scholars and collaborations.”

The workshop recommended that governments and other stakeholders should step up efforts aimed at improving on physical facilities in Nigerian universities, to enhance their carrying capacities, while stakeholders should provide ICT driven instructional facilities to ensure standard and quality lectures and programme delivery in the university system.

The communiqué added, “Government should vigorously pursue the problem of power supply in Nigeria as a basis for quality Academic Research and national development. Government should invest not less than the UNESCO recommended advisory minimum investment guide of 26 per cent of the total national budget to education.

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