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Open and Distance Learning Given New Momentum in Nigeria

21-11-2002 (Paris)
Improving Nigeria’s capacity to deliver open and distance learning programmes to students across the country is the aim of a new UNESCO chair inaugurated in Abuja (Nigeria) this week. The UNESCO Chair in Open and Distance Learning is being established at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).
This university was first launched in 1983, but was suspended in 1985 by the military government of the day. President Olusegun Obasanjo relaunched it last year and NOUN now provides instruction for some 60,000 students.

However, demand for higher education in the country is growing much more rapidly than supply. The new UNESCO Chair aims to build up the supply of skilled professionals to manage and design open and distance learning programmes through the use of new information and communication technologies.

The new Chair was inaugurated at a gala dinner in the federal capital hosted by President Obasanjo to mark the opening of the Second High Level Group meeting on Education for All. UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura commended the President’s decision to re-open NOUN, and said he was sure that “NOUN in general and the UNESCO Chair in particular can make a substantive contribution to Nigerian higher education. Such is the mismatch between the great demand for higher education and the means available to satisfy it that NOUN is guaranteed to play an important role in opening access and enhancing quality.”

There are now more than 500 UNESCO Chairs in over 500 institutions in some 113 countries, established under a programme known as UNITWIN. They involve thousands of academics and students as well as key partners from civil society and the private sector. Over the past five years these partners have brought some $US30 million dollars to UNESCO/UNITWIN projects.

The Open and Distance Education Chair at NOUN is the third UNITWIN/UNESCO Chair to be established in Nigeria.
Related themes/countries

      · ICT in Education: News Archives 2002
      · Nigeria: News Archives
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