Nigeria commends commonwealth for mass literacy programme

Temitope Mustapha, Abuja

The Nigerian government has commended the Commonwealth of Learning for promoting mass literacy, through the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).

The Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah who gave the commendation also reiterated the determination of the Federal Government to meet all its obligations to the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) as soon as the financial situation of the country improves.

Professor Anwukah stated these in his office when he received the President of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Professor Asha Kanwar, who paid him a courtesy call in Abuja.

Prof. Anwukah disclosed that the Federal Government is actively promoting Open and Distance Learning through the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) and the National Teachers Institute (NTI) as alternative ways of increasing access to higher education.

Professor Anwukah further revealed that the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is currently running 75 Centres across the country with an estimated population of 184,000 active students as at 2015/2016 academic session.

According to the Minister, the country’s conventional public Universities have challenges of low carriage capacity and cannot meet the demands of the ever growing population of Nigerian children seeking admission into tertiary institutions, adding that the NOUN has tremendously reduced the pressure as well as provided opportunities for the working class to study while they work.

The Minister recalled that Nigeria has been a member of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) since 2006 and has been meeting its annual financial contribution to the tune of 750,000 dollars until the current economic downturn. “Nigeria also occupies two seats in the COL Board of Governors and the Audit Committee of the Board”, Professor Anwukah reiterated.

Professor Anwukah underscored the areas of special need of the Ministry such as continuous teacher education and qualified teachers for basic and secondary education with emphasis on technology acquisition which, according to him, “holds the key to the success of any country’s industrial sector”.

The Minister therefore charged the COL to extend more of its services to Nigeria to enable her citizens benefit from its distance learning programmes.

Speaking earlier, Professor Asha Kanwar expressed her gratitude to Nigeria for its contributions to the success of the COL, according to her, the organisation is funded by voluntary bodies and public spirited institutions, prominent amongst which is Nigeria.

Professor Kanwar asserted that COL lays more emphasis on quality education access and equity which she explained is aimed at breaking the circle of poverty, a debilitating phenomenon in the third world.

The President of the Commonwealth of Learning also praised the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) and the National Teacher’s Institute (NTI) for their laudable efforts of increasing access to education in Nigeria describing the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) as the biggest distance learning institution in the world.

These initiatives, she added, will help promote technical education and artisanship in the country, thereby promoting economic growth, development and stability.