Obafemi Awolowo University seem to be taking a huge step as it breaks new ground in the nation's educational system. For the first time in the history of the Nigerian school system, the university under its Center for Distance Learning program is deploying e-learning technology to launch its online degree program. The university is now accepting online application for its online degree program. According to the OAU CDL site, the university is offering three online degree which include, Bachelor's Degree in Education, Bachelor's Degree in Nursing Science, and Bachelor's Degree in Accounting.
So, whats the advantage?
- Every student gets preloaded and customized tablet with course materials and serves more or less like your classroom.
- You get access to the same lectures and assignments just like regular students.
- Ultimately you get the same recognized certificate just as regular students.
According to report, what OAU CDL has done is to help reduce the problem of access to an average Nigerian, given that out of the 1.6 million Nigerians that take Jamb every year, up to 70% to 80% is being turned down. Not because they are not qualify nor because the university don't want them, but simply because there is no room for them on campuses.
This is no doubt a great idea and a huge opportunity for a large number of Nigerian students that is being denied of admission yearly.
However, the question is will the "average Nigerian" be able to afford it? Findings reveal that the program cost at least N264, 000.00 for fresh students and N181, 500.00 for returning students. The online program is said to run just like the regular on campus degree program except for the mode of study which of course is online. This simply means that online students will spend 4 years and will have to pay at least N1, 534, 500 for the duration of the program, provided there is no increment.
Considering Wikipedia report on Population below poverty line which is 54.98% (2009 est.), this then raises the question, can the "average Nigerian" afford the online program?
Aside that challenge, deploying the technology of e-learning, the 70% to 80% will no doubt drop drastically. Take for instance the deployment of technology in seating for JAMB has resulted to hastening the marking processes and in turn candidates get their result within a week. Unlike 10 years ago where you have to wait for months.