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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

GOOD NEWS:Senate Begins Amendment Of The Open University Act 16/01/2017

Senate begins amendment of the Open University Act

The Nigerian senate has reaffirmed its commitment to uplift the standard of open universities through necessary legislations to enable it compete favourably with similar universities in the world.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Education and TETFUND, Senator Jibril Barau, who stated this during a one day public hearing on amendment of the law establishing the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), explained that “the senate will create an enabling environment to make NOUN the best in the world.”

Senator Barau noted that the essence of the public hearing was to make the law to provide a platform for online tuition as a method of instruction in order to ease the troubles associated with the traditional ways of teaching and bring about efficiency, convenience, flexibility and effectiveness in Open University system.

“As a foremost university that has brought education to the door steps of many individuals and has made learning easier for all, this amendment is apt, timely and in tune with the global best practices,” Senator Barau assured.

He added that it will reposition the Open University for better service delivery and help in producing quality graduates for the Nigerian society.

The public hearing was organised by the Senate Committee on Tertiary Education and TETFUND on the Bill for an Act to amend the National Open University Act, No 6 of 1983, to provide for the inclusion of ICT as another means of providing tuition in the National Open University of Nigeria throughout the country.

It involves amendment of relevant sections of the Act including Section three (3) of the principal act that mandates the University to establish 774 community study centres in all the Local Government Areas of Nigeria.

Vice Chancellor of the National Open University, Abuja, Professor Abdallah Adamu, in his submission urged the senate to amend the act to incorporate requirements that must be met by would be community -study -centre hosts, including undertaking the responsibility of providing 80 percent of infrastructure as well as structural materials required for the establishment of such centres.

Other areas which need to be considered for amendment as disclosed at the public hearing, deals with the issue of admission into the University, a situation which according to Professor Adamu, has been a source of standing controversy between NOUN and the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB).

It revealed that the inclusion of such concepts as “correspondence and part-time” give the impression that NOUN is not a full university but a temporary means of acquiring education. Professor Adamu argued that “for the fact that the law gives room for the establishment of study centres which allows for interactions between the school and the students, it cannot be termed part time.”

According to the University Don, “provisions of the Act which call for amendment when addressed and passed by the National Assembly including the establishment of more community study centres will further legitimize academic programs of the National Open University which has already established about 78 study centres and has received over five thousand (5000) requests for the establishment of community study centres.

“If the Act is amended and accepted for instance, the problem of our students not being called to bar by the Nigerian Law School will become history, because for now the law school considers our law program as a correspondence course, while the National Youth Service Corps sees us as part-time, but with the amendment we are seeking will address these problems,” he explained.