By Felix Khanoba
No fewer than 103 students of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) will on Saturday 23 March graduate with first class degree at the institution’s eight convocation ceremony scheduled for Abuja.
Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu, who made this known in Abuja on Tuesday at a news briefing ahead of the convocation, said a total of 20,799 students drawn from eight faculties in NOUN will graduate during the ceremony.
The VC, who tagged his speech as ‘Open Distance Learning (ODL), Weapon of Mass Instruction’, said the recent assent to the Act establishing NOUN by President Muhammadu Buhari has endeared more Nigerians to the University.
“When Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari, assented to the amendment of NOUN Act to make it law, it means we are now brought under the Universities Miscellaneous Act, therefore ending the discrimination against us as an ODL institution and other conventional universities.
“The implication is related to the number we now graduating. Last year we graduated about 15,000 students from the University, and this year because of the amendment of the Act and because the University is now at par with any other university, many of our students who were not active suddenly became active. This year we are graduating 20,799 students,” the Vice Chancellor said.
While saying Bala Saliu Magaji from Lafia Study Centre, who bagged first class in Islamic Studies, clinched the position of best graduating student, Prof. Abdalla said this year’s convocation lecture will be delivered by Shamsudeen Usman, former Minister of National Planning.
On the participation of NOUN graduates in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme and its Law graduates in the Nigerian Law School, the Vice Chancellor said negotiations are in top gear to that effect following the amendment to the University Act.
“Negotiations have started between the University management and those agencies that control NYSC as well as entry into law school. In the past there was no basis for the negotiation but now there is and we are very hopeful. We are willing to accept whatsoever conditions the law school will provide, we are willing to accept any condition NYSC will provide,” he said.
Speaking further, the VC said the University will introduce additional degree programmes like Hausa Language, Igbo Language, Philosophy, Yoruba Language, among others, from January next year, adding that NOUN has been listed as one of the beneficiaries for World Bank’s grant on Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) project.
“On Friday 12 October 2018, the University received good news that we are one of the 17 universities that have been selected by World Bank to be given a grant of between 4 to 8 million dollars to run a project ACE on Technology Enhanced Learning,” he added.