As we previously reported on the comments of Prof. Olu Akeusola who is a former dean in the National Open University of Nigeria and currently the Provost of Michael Otedola College of Primary Education, Epe, Lagos State that NOUN graduates are not qualified to participate in the National Youths Service Corpse (NYSC). The professor got it wrong from his comments regarding the NYSC issue and some other things he hinted on.
Read also: NOUN NOT QUALIFIED FOR NYSC SAYS PROF. OLU AKEUSOLA
According to him: “We have the tendency of misinterpreting concepts. NOUN is not meant for regular students. It is not meant for anybody that has just finished his secondary education. NOUN is a flexible programme meant for adults – meant for the working class. It is for people who have sufficient experience, but want academic knowledge and certificates to back up what they are doing.”
I do not know exactly the premise he is basing the above argument on, but the professor should have known a few things about the philosophy of NOUN since he was a dean in the university. NOUN is an Online Distance Learning Program (ODL) and provides a flexible mode of study to its students.
ODL is a generic term used to define the field of distance learning. Distance learning is a mode of delivering education and instruction, often on an individual basis, to students who are not physically present in a traditional setting such as a classroom.
Distance learning provides “access to learning when the source of information and the learners are separated by time and distance, or both.” Distance education courses that require a physical on-site presence for any reason (excluding taking examinations) may be referred to as hybrid or blended courses of study. Massive open online courses (MOOCs), aimed at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web or other network technologies, are recent developments in distance education.
A number of other terms (distributed learning, e-learning, online learning, etc.) are used roughly synonymously with distance education. However, distance is the oldest and mostly commonly used term globally.
From the above analysis about distance learning and flexibility which the university is based upon, it is rather unfortunate for a professor to say that NOUN is a dumping ground for JAMB failures and fresh secondary school graduates. What he is implying is that conventional universities are superior to NOUN, but on what basis? Simply the mode of study! A system the global academic community is embracing. Terms such as ODL, E-learning and technology advancement in education are what our professors should be preaching, because that is the trend in the education system globally.
Now let’s look into the NYSC acts and what it stands for. The NYSC scheme was created in a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian Civil war. The unfortunate antecedents in our national history gave impetus to the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps by decree No.24 of 22nd May 1973 which stated that the NYSC is being established “with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of national unity”.
The primary aim of NYSC is for national integration, corpse members are expected to be posted to a state outside their region, not only will they serve their for one year, but they are equally expected to marry from their service state and settle down there. Does the professor remember these facts? Is he now saying that NOUN graduates numbering into hundreds of thousands does not have a role to play towards national unity just like every other Nigerian students?
Even the NYSC got it wrong by excluding some Nigerian graduates from the scheme. According to the guidelines of the body, the following categories of Nigerian graduates are exempted or excluded from the scheme:
As provided in the enabling law, the following are exempted:
- Those who are over thirty (30) years of age at graduation.
- Those that have at least served the Nigerian Armed Forces, Nigerian Police or National Security Agencies for nine months.
- Those conferred with any national honors.
The following are excluded from the scheme:
- Graduates of part-time programs.
- Graduates of sandwich courses.
- Graduates of long distance learning programs.
- Holders of diploma certificates from universities.
It is highly unfortunate that the primary objective of the NYSC has been defeated by all the obnoxious enabling laws guiding the scheme in recent times. Excluding some Nigerians from the scheme is one of them. This is a country still struggling to have a united front, and the only viable policy towards deepening unity in the country is now a joke.
Recent reports has it that corpse members now have the option of choosing their state of service, a move absolutely violating the philosophy of the scheme in the first place. This move raised a lot of issues couple of months ago and is still lingering because a lot of intellectuals are agitating for outright removal of the program. But I am an advocate of National Unity, so we rather have the NYSC program running than not.
NOUN is an outstanding institution
Let us face facts here, NOUN is one of a kind! These are facts every Nigerian academician should know about the university:
- NOUN is an ODL university
- They have a very flexible mode of study
- Their continuous assessment test is called Tutor marked Assignment (TMA)
- They write their exams through electronic means and also on Pen on paper
- Students do not have access to their examiners and there is zero chance of malpractice
- Students study on their own and all their graduates are extremely on merit.
- They follow best practices in the conduct of examinations.
These are just a few of the outstanding reputation the university possesses, so it is highly recommended that our professors and elites should be mindful of their comments about the university in order not to discourage young candidates from enrolling in the school, a move Professor Olu Akeusola made by tacitly discouraging young secondary school leavers from enrolling in the program. It is better to encourage practices such as e-learning, ODL, and NOUN.