Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Director, Ahmadu Bello University Distance Learning Centre, Prof. Adamu Zoaka Hassan, has decried the lack of facilities and space in higher institutions in the country, which he said has forced thousands of applicants abroad, thereby costing the country about N155 billion‎ annually.

To this end, the institution has launched its Distance Learning Centre (DLC) to mop up some percentage of qualified applicants that are unable to secure on-campus admission, thus, putting Nigerian tertiary education system among the best in the world.

He regretted that the establishment of additional universities has not significantly altered the problem; hence the decision by ABU to reverse the trend and help generate more revenue for the country.
Hassan, who made this known while briefing journalists in Abuja recently, stressed the need to review the educational delivery in Nigeria in line with current trends.

“There are over two million undergraduate applicants annually and less than 30 per cent are admitted due to limited space and facilities. Tens of thousands of Nigerian students are compelled to study in foreign countries with over 71,000 in Ghana costing Nigeria over N155 billion annually.”
Hassan noted that the distance learning centre would also accommodate “the on-campus students unable to continue their studies on-campus, Nigerians in diaspora and foreigners interested in Nigerian degrees and organisations seeking special trainings.

“We are just starting with the MBA in October, the total time to complete an online course will be equivalent to that of an on-campus programme and the same degree will be earned as the ones on campus.”
He explained that the ABU distance learning model involves the applications of multimedia technology that supports electronic instructional delivery mode (e-learning), as well as independent learning.

“The ABU model is unique, you can acquire PhD without leaving your home. Wherever you are in the world you can get quality certificate from ABU without being in the classroom. ABU is the first university to introduce the distance learning and our intention is to put the university in the world map that is where we should be.”

Hassan explained that the suggested time for the completion of the programme by the National Universities Commission (NUC) is between 18 months and three years. “How long you stay on your programme depends on you, you have to decide when you want to graduate.”
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ibrahim Garba, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Ibrahim Naiya Sada, said the programme has the approval of the NUC and the senate. He promised that the model has all it takes for qualitative learning.