"10.5 million Nigerian children are out of school; this is the highest
number in the world. For the ones who are in school, the story is not
entirely better." according to AllAfrica.com.
|Photo: Vanguard newspaper|
The situation is not much better at the tertiary level; while employers complain that many graduates of Nigerian institutions are half baked, there are thousands more that cannot make it through the admission bottleneck.
Two words seem to sum up a significant proportion of the challenges that the Nigerian education system is faced with: access and quality. Though these challenges seem insurmountable, experts are now turning to Information and Communication Technology, ICT for a solution. Leading this call last weekend was the Vice Chancellor, Covenant University, Prof. Charles Ayo.
According to Ayo, ICT is the panacea for development problems, education inclusive. Expounding on the paper: E-education: Critical impacts on learning and human intelligence, at The Hayford Alile Foundation annual lecture, the Professor of Computer Science said: "There is definitely a need for more universities, so the intervention of private universities is timely.
However, with the issue of inadequate manpower, do you think more universities is the answer? We must look for a solution in Massive Open Online Courses, MOOCS. The Asian tigers started like that. The National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, for instance, has about 300,000 students. That is a good start and we can improve on that.
Although the students meet physically one in a while, this is much more than any single University can take at once. We may not be switch online totally, so an integrated approach is necessary. Government should be able to sit down, think through, and come up with the best approach for our country.'
The rationale behind e-learning is such that individuals within disparate remote locations can acquire education through the use of ICT. Digital content, capacity building in training and research, technology and network infrastructure, local capacity and community support are all important features to be considered for this to work effectively.