Open and Distance Learning (ODL) programmes do not necessarily have to lead to the award of degrees in order to improve the knowledge base and skill acquisition in Africa, the Vice-Chancellor, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Prof. Olufemi Peters, has said.
The VC stated this while delivering a keynote address during the 32nd convocation ceremony of the Open University of Tanzania (OUT) held on Wednesday, 23rd, November 2022.
In his paper titled: Contributions of Open and Distance Learning to the Social-Political and Economic Development of Africa. Peters, said ODL can be nourishing vehicle that can help meet with the ambitious socio-economic and education development agendas such as the Continental Education strategy for Africa and the wider Agenda 2063:The Africa we want.
Highlighting on the key contributions of ODL, he said, includes Improved access to education, Increased school enrolment, cultural and Religious Enhancement, meeting special education needs, leadership development, vocational training and promotion of entrepreneurship, Cultivating and sustaining Lifelong learning through ODL.
Internalization of the Higher Education Curricular, learning literacy through reading, enhancing quality standards in curricula, ameliorating brain drain, ICT penetration in education, Encouraging self-directed and life-long learning opportunities, amongst other.
The contributions of ODL Peters said, has gone beyond the award of certificates to students, but viewed as possessing the magic wands to solve problems that the conventional mode of university education is been criticised for, if it must be relevant.
The VC further emphasised the value of ODL in widening access and participation in education generally and to non-traditional groups of learners across the African continent while lauding the value of ODL in the creation of new skills and competencies which are incidental to learning through ODL.
ODL has contributed to alleviating rural-urban migration and improved the economic development of communities, he added.
He also pointed that the contribution of ODL to leadership and governance both at the local level and at the national level is clearly exemplified by the presence of several local politicians who themselves are graduates and students.
Peters further described distance learners as self-disciplined and organized and indicated that this extends to other aspects of their lived experiences.
His submission “ODL offer important opportunities for the socio-economic development of Africa in various sectors of human activities over the next few decades, important manifestations of these are already evident across our continent and I see these often as I travel to different African countries including at OUT in the course of my current assignment’’.
Also, the keynote address/paper was discussed by academics and members.
Meanwhile, The VC accompanied the OUT VC for the conferment and presentation of degrees, diplomas and certificates to graduating students at its 41st graduation ceremony held Thursday 24th November 2022.