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President Muhammadu Buhari has said the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) has become a major player in his administration’s drive to expand access to tertiary education and making it affordable in the country.

The president stated this at 12th Convocation Ceremony of the university, which was held on Saturday, March 25, 2023, at the university headquarters, Abuja, where 28,740 students graduated.

Represented by the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, Buhari said the currently Nigeria has a total of 222 universities, comprising of 50 federal, 61 state and 111 private.

“I have no doubt that with this quantitative increase in tertiary institutions, the challenge to access in higher education in Nigeria will be drastically reduced,” he said.

The president, who was the Visitor at the ceremony, also acknowledged the university structure which operates through study centres located across the country, “and to inform that after today, NOUN has already established as many as 114 study centres of various categories in both the urban and rural areas of Nigeria.”

He said through the operations of these study centres, the university has set for itself the target of 1million students over the next few years, therefore creating a niche for itself as a unique institution.

The president noted that NOUN was established by the Federal Government as the only single mode, Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institution in the country for the purpose of granting access to eligible Nigerians constrained by limited space in the existing conventional universities.

NOUN, according to him, “is indeed delivering on its mandate by taking affordable university education to the doorstep of Nigerians irrespective of their location, ethnicity, sex or religion.

“Education is the foundation of all development, whether social, economic, political or religion. That is why my administration is committed to making education affordable to all, through the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode.”

According to the visitor, it is through the ODL mode that national policy on education makes provision for life-long learning that transcends all barriers.

He, therefore, pledged that his administration will continue to support the operations of NOUN by giving priority to the provision of physical, human and material infrastructure through increased annual budgetary allocation and constant intervention from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).

“In our effort to increasing access to education for the masses of the Nigerian youth, my administration has in recent years established a number of new tertiary institutions, colleges of education, polytechnics and universities, in areas of the country where none existed.

“In addition to take all institutions, we have given all kinds of support private capital investment in education,” he said.

Buhari expressed delight that the outcome of the support given to the various universities and institutions of higher learning has been encouraging.


By Loretta Edozie
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