VC calls for more ICT-related courses, as ACETEL holds maiden orientation

Justina Undiandeye & Sunday Adama

The Vice-Chancellor, National Open University of Nigeria, Prof. Olufemi Peters has called for the continued introduction for more Information and Communication Technology (ICT) related courses at the Africa Centre of Excellence on Technology Enhanced Learning (ACETEL).

Peters stated this at the maiden orientation exercise for new students of the ACETEL, which was held on Monday, March 1st, 2021 both virtually and at a limited space venue at the headquarters in Abuja.

While giving a brief background of the centre, which is being funded by the World Bank in collaboration with the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Association of African Universities, said the Covid-19 pandemic has greatly altered the mode of education delivery globally.

Peters, who joined the event virtually, explained that the pandemic that has ravaged the world such that the need for ICT had become necessary in educational spaces.

He said time was ripe for more programmes in the advanced technology such as artificial intelligence, management information systems and cybersecurity, stressing that NOUN has stepped-in to fill that gap and to meet the needs of the society.

As the first batch of ACETEL students, he added, they were the chosen generation, assuring them that everything was put on ground to make their time as students very enjoyable, interesting and self-actualizing.

The Vice-Chancellor also mentioned that although studying was not new to the students as they most likely had their first degrees, the Open and Distant Learning (ODL) mode was probably new to them as it mainly involves self-learning with the instructors serving mainly as facilitators.

Peters, however, told the students that it will be an exciting period for them, urging them to listen attentively to the presentations at the orientation, meant to open them up to the peculiarities of the ODL system.

The ACETEL director, Prof. Grace Jokthan, in her welcome address, said the orientation was designed to help and equip the postgraduate students in the course of their academic programme.

Jokthan said “NOUN ACETEL offers a world-class intellectual experience, unparalleled access and diversity, opportunities for internships, learning visits, student exchange, conferences and workshops, research, scholarships among others and students will graduate as at when due.”

She also stated that ACETEL provides outstanding opportunities and support for professional academic careers, explaining the implication of the COVID-19 pandemic on education, which she pointed out, had led to the shutting down of schools.

The director added that despite the global challenges associated with the pandemic, NOUN provided an uninterrupted service to its students courtesy of e-learning.

Speaking further, she hinted that ACETEL NOUN is in partnership with both local and international bodies, adding that students can login to the centre’s website for details, with a 24-hour dedicated student support service.

Meanwhile, the Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, Prof. Samaila Mande, while delivering his vote of thanks, commended Prof. Jokthan and her team for organizing the orientation exercise, and urged the students to maximize the e-learning opportunities.

There were a number of paper presentations from sundry resource persons, which were aimed at acquainting the fresh in-take to the rudiments and needs of their programmes with ACETEL.