Stakeholders want improved access to tertiary education through ICT

Ict2Stakeholders in the tertiary education sub-sector have identified Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as one of the most potent means of expanding access to tertiary institutions in the country.

This was the consensus of academics that converged on Abuja Tuesday for the 2015 Conference on Technology Assisted Learning, jointly organised by the National Universities Commission (NUC), American University of Nigeria (AUN) and the Digital Promise Foundation.

Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Julius Okojie, who traced the journey from obsolete teaching methods to the use of ICT, emphasised the importance of the ICT in driving the country’s university system.

He urged stakeholders in the system to key into the on going change campaign in the country, by addressing key problems of access and quality of the sector.

With about 2.4 million students in Nigerian universities and over 1.8 million students still seeking admission yearly, and only 500, 000 slots available, Okogie said there was the compelling need to create more access to tertiary education as available universities were inadequate.

He urged that the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), should be strengthened and encouraged more in the use of ICT for its teaching and learning exercises.

“ICT of course will improve the quality of students produced by our universities and will also enhance the quality of teachers. What we need basically is how to ensure expansion of access into the tertiary institutions.”

On the establishment of a common platform for sharing advanced technology among universities in the country, the Secretary General of Committee of Vice Chancellor, Professor Micheal Faborode, urged the Federal Government to rescue the Nigeria Research Education Network (NgRen), which according to him, is in a comatose state due to insufficient fund to strengthen it.

“The NgRen is a very good platform that is expected to connect all universities on the same platform to share research materials, and exchange ideas. But it is in a comatose state right now and needs funding to stem its dwindling fortune. NgRen will also allow universities to key into e- learning.”

Former executive secretary of the NUC, Prof. Peter Okebukola, who spoke on “ICT in the Nigeria Education Sector: Its Current State and Future Prospects,” said the curriculum currently operational in Nigerian schools was not keeping pace with contemporary trends in advance communication technology.

Okebukola identified weak capacity of school administrators and inertia to change from analogue to digital frame of mind, as some of the factors that hinder the full adoption of ICT in Nigerian schools.

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