The President, African Council for Distance Education (ACDE) and Vice-Chancellor, Open University of Sudan, Prof. Abdelraouf Abbas, has called on the management of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) to assist in developing Open Distance Learning (ODL) in Africa.

A statement by NOUN’s Director of Media and Publicity, Ibrahim Sheme, said that Abbas made the call during his visit to NOUN’s headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday.

NOUN VC, Prof. Abdalla Adamu (right), giving a printed profile of the university to the Vice-Chancellor of the Open University of Sudan (OUS), Prof. Abdelraouf Abbas

Sheme said that Abbas urged NOUN to render the university’s vast experience in ODL to similar institutions on the continent for the development of the education.

He said that the ACDE president underscored the role and critical importance of the university to the council and other ODL institutions in Africa.

The director said that Abbas, accompanied by the Secretary, Academic Affairs of OUS, Prof. Mohammed Imam, said his visit to the headquarters of NOUN was the first in his capacity as the council’s president.

“This is my first visit abroad since my election as ACDE president. That says a lot about the NOUN’s importance to the ACDE. I think the visit is a bit late, but it is better late than never.

“I urge NOUN Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdalla Adamu, to lead the pack in the effort to reposition the council so as to ensure a robust collaboration and exchange of study materials and students between the sister universities on the continent.’’

Sheme said  that Abbas also requested NOUN to allow its staff, Prof. Rotimi Ogidan, who is the Executive Secretary of ACDE based at the headquarters of the council in Kenya, to see off his tenure in 2019 which, he said, was another pointer to NOUN’s critical importance to the council and ODL in Africa.

Sheme said that Adamu, on his part, welcomed the visiting president to the NOUN headquarters and assured him of the full support towards the sustenance of the council’s activity.

“Adamu, who is also the First Vice-President of the council, acknowledged that heading the continental body like the ACDE was tasking, but urged the president to focus more on tackling the challenges facing the council and ODL institutions in Africa.

“He particularly mentioned areas that need urgent attention of the council, which include the attitude towards ACDE by member bodies, as well as the need for a rotational but a tenured system in occupying the executive secretary’s position, which NOUN has been holding for years.

“Adamu also solicited for the creation of a central fund apart from the annual dues from member institutions, from which the council’s executive secretary and other staff could be paid their salaries.

“In Nigeria, the status of ODL is rising fast, with young Nigerians even outnumbering the more mature ones in enrollment into the university,’’ Adamu said.

Sheme said that Adamu called on ACDE to boost partnership amongst the sister universities in areas of students exchange, study materials and the development of a common template of ODL in Africa, rather than relying on the European system.

He quoted Adamu as saying that he had accepted to allow Ogidan to finish his tenure as executive secretary of the ACDE despite the financial burden and also requested the council to assist in the enrollment of people in the IDPs camps from across the country.


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