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Noun seeks ECOWAS support to improve access to Higher Education In West Africa through open and distance learning

Abuja, 18th September 2019. Representatives of the Department of Education, Science and Culture of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) paid a courtesy visit to the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) to deliberate on areas of partnership on the university’s Regional Training and Research for Distance and Open Learning (RETRIDOL) programme in other to increase the access of higher education to Community citizens through digital platforms.

Welcoming the delegation from the ECOWAS Commission, the Vice Chancellor of NOUN, Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu stated that the university seeks to provide open and distant education to ECOWAS Member States and welcomes the partnership and support of the Commission in achieving this.

Professor Maga, Professor Abdalla Adamu, and Ambassador Nurudeen Babatunde

The Vice-Chancellor highlighted that NOUN, with 536,000 students – including prisoners, which it offers education at no cost, has the highest number of students in Africa. This he explained is due to their nature of digital, open and distance education, which ECOWAS Member States can take advantage of.

Soliciting ECOWAS’ assistance in mediating between NOUN and francophone countries in the region to consider open and distance learning, Professor Adamu cited the experiment of trans-border digital learning that NOUN carried out in Tanzania. “We have the resources, technical support and experiences to share with Countries in West Africa”, he stated.

“By improving access of education to Community citizens, we are laying a foundation for nation building which in turn will accelerate the development of ECOWAS and ensure peace and stability in the region”, he added.

Speaking on behalf of the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Education, Science and Culture, Professor Abdoulaye Maga, the Director of Education reiterated the Commission’s commitment to promote electronic learning in West Africa.
Professor Maga further stated that, ECOWAS also seeks the assistance of the NOUN in building the capacity of the staff of its various institutions.

Also in attendance at the courtesy visit was Ambassador Nurudeen Babatunde, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to ECOWAS. He assured the officials of NOUN of the full support of the Directorate of Education, Science and Culture in achieving its goal of improving access to education in the region.

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