ACDE wants NUC’s partnership for certification of African ODL institutions

By Debbie Nduba & Ibrahim Kabiru Sule

The African Council for Distance Education (ACDE) has sought for the partnership of the National Universities Commission (NUC) towards its drive of launching training and certification programme for all Open and Distance Learning institutions in the continent.

ACDE president, Prof. Goski Alabi, led by the Vice-Chancellor, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Prof. Olufemi Peters, stated this on Friday, March 4, 2022 at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

Alabi, who appreciated the work of the regulatory bodies, said the partnership will require the approval of NUC for the Nigeria’s only ODL institution to champion the training and certification programme, which is intended to support the subsequent accreditation exercise conducted by such regulatory bodies.

The president, accompanied in her visit to Nigeria by the council’s Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Mwoma, disclosed that ACDE has plans to “promote its Quality Assurance and training by working with regulatory bodies and NUC is that. Hence, there is no other place to start.

“The trans-national education council intends to roll out a training and certification programme, hence the need of partnership with NUC to drive this. Certification is not accreditation and cannot replace it. It can only support accreditation.”

She said the effect of Covid-19 has seen a flurry of single-mode institutions trying to start a blended education, while a lot scrape to launch ODL institution, making it imperative for the council to float certain mechanisms that will sustain and entrench quality assurance in the system.

It is consequent upon this, the president reiterated, that the collaboration became necessary. “We are sure that together: NUC, NOUN and ACDE, we will not fail the people of Africa, as they look up to us.”

Nigeria is one of the few nations in Africa to show that there is a way to expand access to education through ODL, Alabi, who is also the president of Laweh University College, Ghana, added.

On his part, NUC’s Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rashid, who welcomed the ACDE team to Nigeria, assured them of the commission’s readiness to fulfil their prayers, stressing that “the issue of quality is what guides us. We see it as a win-win situation.

Rashid, represented by his deputy, Mr. Chris Maiyaki, explained that “I don’t see any problem with NUC answering your prayers. We welcome it and we believe in the international visibility. Africa needs to be visible via access and equity to higher education.

“Nigeria has participated in all fora of global affairs. At the end of the day, it is a value addition. We are very much part of this but the management will meet and deliberate on this. We will expeditiously look at it and issue out a broad letter.”

Maiyaki also used the opportunity to intimate the visiting guests of NUC’s roles in the higher education of Nigeria, even as he revealed that about 2.1 million Nigerians apply for university education in the country.

Speaking at the end of the meeting, NOUN Vice-Chancellor said the interaction was at the instance of ACDE and thanked the NUC for hosting the visitors.

Peters expressed hope that after due consideration by the NUC management, ACDE would be contacted via NOUN for the outcome.