In a move to start exporting tertiary education to other West African countries, the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) will establish study centres across the sub-region, starting with Niger Republic.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu, stated this at the 5th Annual Conference of the Association of West African Universities (AWAU) that took place recently in Niamey, Niger Republic.
Adamu said considering the increasing need of quality university education and the limitations of the conventional universities in terms of carrying capacity among other infrastructure deficiency, there is the need for NOUN, the biggest university in the entire West Africa, to take the lead by bridging the gap through Open and Distance Learning.
Adamu added, "We will start with Niger Republic first, then Ouagadougou, Mali, Senegal, and the entire West Africa. Considering the most sought after courses by Nigeriens in most Nigeria universities, NOUN intends to start running programmes on B.A Education, B.A. Hausa, B.A. Islamic and Arabic Studies, B.A. English and B.Sc. Mass Communications".
Adamu added that citing such study centres across West Africa will bring relief to students around the region who do travel several kilometres to Nigeria in search of education as well as contribute towards improving socioeconomic activities of these countries.
"Even though there is the strong desire to plant these centres by us, the host country must first write formally to us requesting for a centre".
To this end, the Vice-Chancellor NOUN paid a courtesy call to the Minister Higher Education, Niger Republic, and the Governor of Niamey for consultation with education stakeholders in that country about the possibilities of establishing a study centre.
Represented by Abarchi Magalma, Director, Higher Education, Cabinet Office (Permanent Secretary), Niamey, said government and people of Niger will immediately commence paper work in this regard.
Earlier, at the office of the Governor of Niamey, the Governor, Seydou Zataou Aly, welcomed and thanked the VC and his team for the visit and described the intention as laudable, a development the government and people of Niger will embrace.
The Vice-Chancellor also consulted with a renowned professor, and Special Adviser on Education to the President of Niger Republic, Monsieur Sanoussi Tambary Jackou, to intimate him of the development who assured the VC that no stone will be left unturned towards the realisation of the project.
Jackou was a member, memorandum of understanding drafting committee between Nigeria and Niger in 1971. He was also the General Secretary, Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission, representing Niger, a former Minister of Higher Education in Niger Republic and a highly respectable statesman in Niger.
Adamu was also on Radio Alternative, a popular station in Niamey to raise awareness about Open and Distance Learning and its potentials.