Nigeria, in common with many countries, faces a major challenge in the provision of higher education to its burgeoning university-age population. In the last applications cycle, 1.5m young Nigerians applied for just 570,000 available university places.
It is against this background that the University of London, through its Centre for Distance Education (CDE) and Global Engagement team, has been collaborating with the Nigerian National Universities Commission (NUC) since 2016, with a single purpose: to harness the power of quality open and distance learning (ODL) in meeting national demand.
To date, a series of substantial interactions have been delivered, including three sector-wide symposia and a workshop in Abuja; three extended practitioner workshops at UoL; and attendance by senior Nigerian delegations at the CDE’s annual Research into Distance Education (RIDE) Conferences. Areas examined have included policy frameworks, student support, learning design, institutional capacity-building and employability.
In November 2019, CDE and University of London colleagues travelled to Abuja for the latest in the series of annual symposia on policy and practice in ODL. With the theme Supporting Student Success, the event drew 65 Directors of ODL from across Nigeria, as well as the senior leadership team of the NUC. Debate, which was energised and committed, ranged across retention and progression; regulatory guidelines; networking and employability; and the opportunities afforded by UoL’s parallel degree arrangements.
Mike Winter, Director of Global Engagement (main image, pictured far right), said: “It is a hallmark of our collaboration with the NUC that we are in this for the long term, and committed to learning from each other. We are grateful to the NUC for enabling deep engagement with more than 50 Nigerian universities to date; and are looking forward to the next phases of our partnership.”