The Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, has concluded plans to admit 10,000 students next year.
The Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Bamitale Omole, said this at a retreat for management staff at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.
He said the additional admission would be made possible through the new e-learning platform of the Distance Learning Centre, which has been developed to replace the face-to-face learning.
According to him, the new e-learning is an upgrade of the current distance learning developed in partnership with the United States-based Venture Garden Group (VGG), which has developed the same learning platform for many universities in the US.
Prof. Omole said the e-learning delivers contents on electronicmedium with the minimal use of the Internet.
Explaining the rationale behind the project, the VC said: “We decided on this because we realised that any university in the 21st Century must not only be innovative and forward-looking, but must adopt new technologies that can create opportunities for thousands that can not access university education.
“Only about 20 per cent of those who write the University andTertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) are admitted yearly based on the available places. So we believe that this retreat is a good sensitisation for the top echelon of the university to make them to be aware of what our distance learning is doing. We began the programme in 2002. It was conceptualised as a result of the inability of some of our workers’ children to gain admission.
“The new project will give us an expand base of the number ofstudents we can accommodate. Over 70,000 candidates apply to OAU yearly, but we have capacity for about 5,000 students.We believe it should not be so in terms of giving opportunities to different categories of people. This will develop the existing distance learning programme by upgrading it to e-learning. Again, distance learning education is a way to the future. What is happening by and by is that the percentage of the people having face-to-face engagement in learning is dwindling. It is important for us to catch up, to reposition ourselves for the challenges of the future.”
Omole said the workers are prepared for the task, adding thatthe university also has the technological base to support it.
“We have confidence in the ability of our workers in partnership with the VGG. OAU is the most IT-compliant university in Nigeria. Our band is the biggest among the universities. We pioneered Internet use.