Open and Distance Learning As A Change Option for Tertiary Education
Angela Ebele Okpala
National Open University ofNigeria (NOUN)
The formal system of education, via the conventional classroom setting which has been inexistence for centuries has gained some sort of loss in momentum because it is slow in responding to the challenges of exponential rise in the population of those who have expressed interest in education. In Nigeria, youths who desire education and have sought admission into tertiary institutions are left roaming the streets because of the low carrying capacities of
tertiary institutions. These idle and frustrated youths find their hands doing the wrong things. This can partly explain why there is increasing crime rate in Nigeria. Their problem is further compounded by lack of employment. The few who are employed would have to resign whenever they eventually gain admission. This is because provision is not made for students to work and learn at the same time in conventional institutions. Another group of individuals who desire education but whose needs cannot be met by conventional institutions are the nomads, those in prison, women in purdah, Internally displaced persons(IDPs), those in rural areas, and those on full time employment amongst others. If Nigeria must meet its mandate of eradicating illiteracy, education must get to the grassroots. It is in this light therefore, that this paper, seeks to sensitize the populace on open and distance learning (ODL) as a veritable option for tertiary education. Open and distance mode of learning has come to the rescue of conventional institutions. The paper highlights the benefits of ODL over the conventional institutions of higher learning. It suggests that the challenges faced by ODL institutions should be addressed by all stakeholders as ODL offers a viable option to the problem of education in Nigeria.
KEY WORDS: Open Education; Tertiary Education; N0UN; Distance Learning; Higher Education