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Tinubu's Administration's Policy To Open Up Access To Education To Many, ODL Degrees Same As Conventional Universities.

Prof. Tahir Mamman
Minister of Education

Former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, it is recalled, had stated that "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the World. No Country can really develop unless its citizens are educated".

It is due to such saying that the Nigerian government under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's administration is poised to make education accessible to all Nigerian who desire to further their education in the tertiary institutions through Open Distance Learning.

And for those who wonder what Open Distance learning is, it simply means helping democratize education, by making it more affordable, accessible, and attainable to students, no matter their location or income level. 

It is on this note that Nigeria's Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman gave assurances that degrees obtained through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) in Nigeria from accredited institutions have same and equal value with the ones issued at Conventional Universities.

The Minister who spoke during a 3-Day Stakeholders Roundtable for the critique and adoption of the draft stand-alone National Policy on Open, Distance and e-Learning in Abuja said, "ODL has become really important to ensure access to Tertiary Education in Nigeria for millions and millions of Nigerians who are unable to go to the Conventional Universities. 

He said; "about 25 percent are able to be admitted into Conventional Tertiary Institution and a lot have been yearning for further education and qualifications and the only route we have at the moment is to use the Open Distance Learning Skills to enable them acquire those qualifications and necessary skills.

While speaking with journalists at the event, the Minister disclosed that Open Distance Learning ODL was established years ago to enable those who could not get admission into the Conventional Institutions to also have the opportunity to study and satisfy their yearning to further their education.


"Government has developed robust policies to address the challenges being witnessed in the ODL system of education particularly the issue of quality assurance of the system.

"And it is part of the policy of this government to open up access to education to as many Nigerians who crave to further their education." He stated.

The Minister while speaking about the concerns of some Nigerians and employers of labour about the quality of education in ODL, assured that there is a strong quality assurance system in place  which will ensure the content and delivery system of the ODL operators.

"Once we give them the quality training in the various places they are to be trained, the employers will see the difference in practical terms. We want to assure them that Open Distance Education in Nigeria is as good as the qualifications acquired from Conventional Universities. 

"We are strengthening the mechanism for delivery of those Programs/Courses so that the employers will see the quality in qualifications of those they engage."

Asked to speak on how to convince Nigerian students to go for ODL instead of the Conventional Institutions, Professor Tahir Mamman said; "Well, you know the challenges of having to go to the Conventional Universities. There is more flexibility in going through the ODL. Once they get the assurance that what they are getting is as good and qualitative, and as good as that of Conventional Universities, I believe they will key in.

"National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) has been doing amazingly well, growing in leaps and bounds over the years. Several universities have also been accredited recently to run dual mode system of education under close and strict monitoring of the National Universities Commission (NUC).” 

On his part, the Minister of State, Education, Dr Yusuf Tanko Sununu, who was represented by the Director of ICT, Federal Ministry of Education said; "As you are aware, Nigeria is a signatory to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) with regards to ensuring inclusive, equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all in the year 2030.

In his speech, Dr Sununu stated that,  "Available statistics however, show that the achievement of SDG 4 in 2030 especially in the Tertiary Education Sub-Sector would be a mirage if the Open and Distance Learning approach is not properly conceptualized to serve as a key ingredient in a long-term governmental strategy for improved access to education.

"The focus of Open Distance and e-Learning in Nigeria has in recent years shifted from being something which is just desirable to becoming a reality with the establishment of the National Open University of Nigeria, and the emergence of a number of Conventional Universities and Polytechnics with the approval of the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) respectively to operate Distance Learning Centres. 

Emeritus Prof. Olugbemiro Jegede, who is known as the father of ODL in Nigeria, during his remarks, spoke about the benefits of ODL and the positive transformation it could bring to the Education sector.

"It is the future of education in the World", he stated, "as he advised Nigeria not to be left behind."

The Acting Executive Secretary, NUC, Chris Maiyaki, in his remarks, said that 2020 COVID-19 pandemic aroused the awareness of the world to the importance of Online activities, hence forcing several Nations including Nigeria to give considerations to online education system through the ODL aided by technology.

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