Chris Steven, Abuja
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is to partner the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) to explore and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education.
The Senior Programme Specialist, UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning, Mr. Hassan Keenan, who stated this during a courtesy visit to the university in Abuja, explained that NOUN ranked tops among the institutions in Nigeria, in view of its outreach, student population as well as inclination towards exploring the opportunities in lifelong learning and entrepreneurship programmes.
Keenan described NOUN as an institution with huge repertoire of assets, capabilities, and network that could play a critical role in moving the literacy agenda forward. He added that UNESCO was pleased to leverage on these unique key indicators possessed by NOUN to activate a robust partnership.
He cited the alarming number of illiterate youths and adults, which he put at 50% that populate Nigeria, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda as reasons for focusing on higher education, as some of these countries, have well established higher education systems.
In his response, the Vice Chancellor, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, commended the UNESCO officials for deeming it fit to work in partnership with NOUN to identify the key areas of Adult Literacy in sub-Saharan countries.
Adamu said that NOUN is the largest university in West Africa with the highest population, wide outreach and enhanced access; with a total of 78 study centres spread across the country and still receiving requests from community leaders for establishment of more study centres in their various communities.
The vice chancellor also stated that NOUN has the wherewithal for the partnership, in terms of demography. There are young people as well as old ones in its enrollment, adding that NOUN, unlike other conventional institutions in the country, is not confined.
He further stated that NOUN provides scholarship to prison inmates across the country, not minding the reason for their incarceration, but aims at providing lifelong learning for all who desire it.