For many Nigerians, Saturday June 23, 2018, was like every other day, but for the 16,033 newly matriculated students of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), it was a day that will never be forgotten in hurry. FELIX KHANOBA reports.
The 17th matriculation ceremony of NOUN was one of the happiest days for thousands of Nigerians who have yearned for a flexible university education.
It was the day 16,033 students from across the 78 study centres of NOUN, in their beautiful university’s garbs, turned up for the institution’s 2017/2018 academic session matriculation ceremony.
Some of the fresh students, who trooped to the national headquarters of NOUN, Abuja, venue of the matriculation ceremony for the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) Special Study Centre, did not hide their pleasant feelings for being among those that secured admission into the university.
“I am so happy to wear this matriculation gown and I’m also more happier that I will be able to continue with my work and at the same time be learning in the university,” said Bakwet Daniel Davo.
The visibly elated Davo, who gained admission to study Political Science in the university, said the flexibility of the institution’s programmes endeared him to it.
“I go to my work on normal days and on Friday and Saturday I go for (private) lectures,” he said, even as other new students, who made their feelings known, expressed satisfaction and happiness over their new status as NOUN’s students.
Declaring this year’s matriculation open, Vice Chancellor of NOUN, Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, said the university has put in place structures that would enable graduates from the institution to become the best in the society.
“For example, we have subjected all our academic programmes to the National Universities Commission (NUC) for accreditation.
“I am also proud to announce to you all that all programmes so submitted came out successfully. With this, you can be well-assured of the quality of education that awaits you in NOUN,” the VC said.
According to Professor Adamu, NOUN is the only Open and Distance Learning (ODL) university in Nigeria.
“Our mandate remains to take university education to the nook and cranny of our country. Our faithfulness to this mandate is the reason why you are participating in this matriculation ceremony at your various study centres locations,” the VC averred.
Represented by the Director, NURTW Special Study Centre, Abuja, Professor Hakeem Ibikunle Tijani, the VC called on the new students to put on good behaviour in the university.
His words: “May I seize this opportunity to inform you that character development is an integral part of the education which you have signed up to receive in NOUN. At the end of your studies, we are going to certify you qualified in character and learning.
“To be qualified as such, you must be seen by your peers and officials of the university to have lived above board. You must, therefore, shun all the vices that may hamper your academic progression. You must say no to cultism, examination malpractice, and other anti-social behaviours.”
Speaking on the Garki-2, Abuja-located NOUN’s NURTW Special Study centre, Prof. Tijani said about 1,000 students from the centre took part in this year’s exercise.
“We have about 945 students from our centre. We were expecting 1,300 students but may be because of the weather (rain),” Tijani said.
Speaking further, Tijani, who is a professor of International History, Labour and Urban Studies, said the NURTW study centre has continued to witness massive growth since inception.
“When we started in 2013, the first set of students includes the NURTW president’s children. I believe two of them, and since then we have been having exponential enrolment of students. They (NURTW) have been a very good host and stakeholder.
“The whole idea of human capacity development under Prof Abdalla Adamu, our Vice Chancellor, is also important here. Since I assumed the directorship of that centre, we met with the management of NURTW to also provide extra-mile customer service to them in terms of in-house training programme,” he said.
On his part, NURTW’s Director of Information, Mr. Cephas Dongoyaro, who spoke on behalf of the organisation, said the establishment of the special study centre has gone a long way in human capital development of drivers across the country.
“We deem it right to give that study centre to NOUN and provide facilities to make learning very conducive. We informed our members all over the country that they should endeavour to acquire western education, coupled with their driving skills.
“Our members across the country have keyed into this programme and the Open University has picked up to a greater height. We are so proud of the study centre,” Dongoyaro said.
High point of the event was the administering of the matriculation oath on the new students by the University’s Registrar, Mr. Felix Edoka, who was represented by Mr. Muyiwa Harison.