Online learning is the future of education – Jegede
NOUN’s success story cannot be complete without you. What did you have in mind when the idea of creating the university crossed your mind?
I was thinking of several things. First, about 20 years ago we didn’t have up to 10% of our enrollment in higher education and I wondered why do we have to make it a special privilege for other wealthy people and people in urban areas. If we say that education is the foundation of development, both for an individual and for a nation, why don’t you make it accessible? Why don’t you do it in a way that it is qualitative, fair and that you can reach it anytime, anywhere and anyhow, so first access, let as much people as possible to get this degree. The world is open, let everyone participate in the knowledge. knowledge is free so this was the first one and i am happy that God answered our prayers through Nigerians, that the open university i started and people said it will never succeed, i moved people from here to lagos on 15th July 2003 that we all have to go there and start university using the old ministry of education. A year later, when people said it would never happen, I said never say never. I started with 34,000 students, today the university has over 600,000 students, and it is one university. Nigeria’s great university has only 30,000 students, so now you can imagine what that means. A single university is like 20-30 universities and we can still do more because the Open University in India has 4 million students all over. The second is that it should be affordable. Although the university government invested a lot of money in it, after that it became cheap. Also, the way we look at it is distance education, that is, by offering distance education to people, you take away the distance. So you bring education to the person and that’s why the person can stay in his village and learn through the study centers.
…on the need for a policy framework on digital literacy in Nigeria.
People all over the world have embraced technology far more than we realize. There is nothing you can do now without technology. Technology has taken over every part of our system. Technology is like our inorganic DNA if you will and so it has become imperative to appreciate the role of technology in teaching and learning so that the next generation will be better placed to appreciate the world and be educated so that it is better adapted to the world. workforce and better entrepreneurs. The National Plan for Digital Education and Digital Literacy proposes that by 2030, 95% of Nigerians will have encountered, absorbed, understood, acquired digital skills because without digital skills you cannot have a successful digital economy . The world is now dependent on the digital economy, so this is what the policy advocates, that universities should value the use of digital learning in today’s world. Professors, lecturers can use digital learning for teaching, assessment, exams, interact with students and send their messages and bring students together to have their group discussions. Digital literacy actually means that we have to understand how to use all these technologies, how to use them to access information and how to produce information through them.
How do you think the implementation of the digital literacy framework will help address the challenges facing education in Nigeria?
When implemented, this means that from primary to secondary school, all of our children will be digitally literate and once you are digitally literate, no one will be able to cheat you. It used to be that when you bought a new phone and took your old phone to transfer data, you took it to IT experts because you weren’t that digitally literate. When you give them the two phones, they will tell you that they have to copy it to a flash or a computer before the transfer, and by doing so, they have already copied everything when they do. They may not have deleted it and so before you know it, your bank details are gone and other information. But if you have numerical knowledge, you can do it, you don’t need anything. All you need is software or an app, just download it and connect the two phones and you’re done. So what we’re saying is this is becoming a digital world and there’s nothing we can do to escape it.