The National Open University was initially established on 22 July 1983 as springboard for open and distance learning in Nigeria. It was suspended by the government on 25th April 1984. However, its resuscitation was done on the 12th of April 2001 by the former President of Nigeria, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo. In this interview with Chinelo Chikelo, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Vincent Tenebe said it is the best educational opportunity offered by the Federal Government.
Do you run science based courses or you are restricted to arts and social sciences?
Like any other federal university we have what we call the blue print which is like the master plan for the university in both infrastructural development and academic development and in that blue print we have ten schools which can be referred to as faculties in the conventional universities, and they are all operational at the moment.
We are not just running arts and social sciences because it is a full-fledged university with courses in engineering and core science based areas of specialisation.
Your University has issues with the Council on Legal Education which hampered law graduates of your university from being admitted into law school, are you succumbing to this pressure?
I am happy you said issues; you see every society in the world is resistant to change, people are afraid of change; the school of law in the National Open University is approved and accredited by the National University Commission like every other federal university. The problem is that the Open University is relatively new and uses state of the act technology inclusive of the print media, electronic media and other integrated and strategic forms of communications to tutor students.
The council on legal education is saying that our students cannot be admitted into law school because they are not used to the system of open university education, but we are here to prove to them that this system is comparable to other university systems if not even better.
The open university is a system found in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, China and India to mention but a few, as I speak to you I am yet to see any country in the world that students of law of open university are not admit able into law school.
People are called to law school when they have gone through Open University in the UK, people are called to law school when they have gone through the open university in the US, Australia and even Egypt and other North African countries.
Talking about facilities, do you have adequate provisions for good learning environment?
We have adequate facilities in all the study centers and do face to face between the students and the lecturers, because it is a requirement of the council on legal education.
The Open University is about the only university that arranges lecturers to meet with students one on one for effective facilitation in their studies and to confirm the competence and reliability of the student’s performance.
What is the volume of online study the Open University offer?
Your question is pregnant, because we produce CDs, flash drives and our materials can be found online, I can assure you that the National open university of Nigeria is the only university in Africa that donates materials through the open education resources globally acknowledged by UNESCO, UN and other international organizations.
Let me say here that we have graduated fifteen thousand students in the last 10 years at four convocations and we give out our certificates on the convocation day, but there are universities that have graduated students for five years without issuing certificates but statements of results.
For me it is a very big achievement that our university is about the only university that gives out certificates of graduation the same day of convocation.
Where do you see the university in 10 years?
My wish is that the university should have study centres in the 774 local councils with a population of 1. 5 million students in the country because we have been left behind, right now we have 400, 000 students but the active students are 180, 000 students, though when I assume office we had 15, 000 students.
Before the end of 2015 we are targeting 250, 000 active students and I wish that the university should be found in the door steps of every Nigerian.

By Lekky

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