Graduates of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) would soon be allowed to participate in the National Youth Service Corps Scheme (NYSC) and the Nigerian Law School Programme.
The Director, Ilorin Study Centre of NOUN, Michael Abikoye, made this known on Thursday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ilorin.
Mr. Abikoye, who was NOUN first Acting Registrar, attributed the exclusion of NOUN graduates from the scheme and law school to public misunderstanding of the difference between Open and Distance Learning (ODL) and part time studies.
He expressed optimism that with the ongoing talk between the management of the Open University and the relevant stakeholders, NOUN students would be absorbed into the scheme.
“The denial of our graduates in participating in the NYSC scheme is based essentially on the general misunderstanding of difference in concept between open and distance learning system, which Nigerians have equated with part time studies.
“But open and distance learning is not exactly the same thing as part time study.
“Open and Distance Learning is a standard form of education and it is the vogue in many advanced countries today.
“Incidentally, most of NOUN programmes are accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC) that accredits programmes of conventional Nigerian Universities.
“Our course materials are prepared by seasoned academics in the conventional university system and they go through rigorous and thorough process of editing and printing before they are released to the students.
“It may not surprise you to know that even in the conventional universities; our course materials are being used by some lecturers to produce their own handouts for students.
“That shows you the quality of our materials and by extension, the quality of our products,” Mr. Abikoye added.
Mr. Abikoye said NOUN has standard and functioning laboratories at its headquarters and in some selected study centres across the country.
He said what NOUN has done in some centres where it has no laboratory of its own was to go into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with neighbouring conventional universities.
“At the Ilorin Study Centre here for instance, we have gone into collaboration with the University of Ilorin so that NOUN students can avail themselves with laboratory facilities there.
“This was particularly meant for the students of our School of Health Science and ICT,” he said.
Mr. Abikoye disclosed that NOUN has set up two skills acquisition vocational centres at graduate, post graduate diploma and certificate levels to fill the gap left behind by conventional universities.