Efforts by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration to improve access to Technical and Vocational Education (TVET) in the state has gained additional boost as the Edo State Polytechnic, Usen, (formerly Edo State Institute of Technology and Management) has concluded training of its staff in preparation for the commencement of Nigeria’s first Open Distance Flexible Learning (ODFL) Programme.
In a welcome address during the opening of the mandatory 3-day workshop for all academic and selected non-academic staff of the institution, Rector, Edo State Polytechnic, Prof. Abiodun Falodun, noted that the objective of the programme is to increase access to Technical and Vocational Education (TVET) to indigenes and residents in the state and environs.
The 3-day mandatory workshop was organised by management of the polytechnic in partnership with a Tertiary Education Information Technology (IT) consultant, Concept De La Paix, to facilitate the commencement of the ODFL programme.
Prof. Falodun said that the programme will improve the visibility of the polytechnic globally, allow for the internationalisation of learning opportunities and improve access to global resources and experts through Information Communication Technology (ICT).
He noted, “Edo State Polytechnic will be the first to float the programme. At the conclusion of the workshop, Edo Polytechnic intends to mount its Online Distance Flexible Learning Programme within the next six months.”
Prof. Falodun noted that the institution will commence the first phase of the programme with Public Administration while other courses to be added will include: Accountancy, Business Administration and Computer Science.
In a lecture entitled: “Understanding Open Distance Learning (ODL) Mode,” Prof. Bayo Okunade of the University of Ibadan, noted that ODL is a system that allows students’ access to ICT, providing a platform where learners and facilitators are separated by physical distance and technology with face-to-face communication deployed to bridge the gap.
He urged the management of the institution to ensure that staff members, who are engaged in the programme, are well motivated to encourage them deliver effective service and improve their output.
In his lecture entitled, “Categorical Imperative for ODL Policy for Learners,” Dr. Steve Lafenwa, of the University of Ibadan, said that for ODL to be successful there must be a flexible policy for learners, noting “flexibility in ODL learning programme does not restrict learners on the number of courses to be taken in a semester because it allows them to learn at their pace.”
Lafenwa said for effective delivery of ODL, three key ingredients must be present which includes passion, technology and support services, adding, “Support services make the passion and technology relevant in ODL effective.”
Head, Pharmaceutical Technology Department of the institution, Mr. Edobor Ekugum, a participant at the workshop, commended the visionary leadership of Governor Obaseki to turn around the narrative of the educational sector in the state.
Another participant at the workshop, Head, Marketing Department, Mrs. Omo-Amen Lydia, expressed appreciation to Prof. Falodun for his effort to place the institution on the global map with the ODFL programme, noting that the effort will assist in broadening the scope of the institution towards development.