) The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is working to raise its admission to one million students soon, Chairman of the NOUN Governing Council, Prof. Peter Okebokola, has said.
Okebokola told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja on the sideline of the meeting of the council, that the open university currently admits up to 450,000 undergraduates.
He said: “The new council would work with the Senate of the university to double enrolment to one million through the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in the next couple of years.
“We have about 450, 000 for now but more importantly for us is that the quality of delivery of NOUN programmes will be significantly enhanced that in another two years, graduates from NOUN will be the best in Nigeria.
“We intend to pick and work with 10 programmes from the university to achieve this goal.”
Okebukola said candidates seeking admission into the NOUN would not write the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) to get enrolled but would be registered within the system of JAMB.
According to him, the council is also exploring new methodology for conduct of examinations for those with visual, speech and hearing impediments through JAMB Equal Opportunity Group.
“About two years ago, the JAMB registrar, in his desire to provide level ground for all candidates regardless of ones physical challenge, set up the JAMB Equal Opportunity Group, with me as the chairperson.
“We have been able to conduct UTME for the blind for two years now.
“This time, we have done a review of the operation and will require the directives of JAMB on how to improve on the administration of the examinations for the physically challenged.
“The registrar of the board has introduced another wonderful innovation by adding the deaf and dump which we were not dealing with in the group before now.
“Last year, almost 400 of the blind enrolled for the UTME, am anticipating about 400 to 450 from all over the country in the 2019 examinations.
“The good news for me is that many of them are being admitted into the Nigerian universities, which was the whole idea in the first place and not just participating in the UTME.”
Okebokola said that the JAMB Equal Opportunity Group would place the centres of those with impairments in institutions that run special courses to create necessary enabling environment for them.
The chairman, who was a former executive secretary, National Universities Commission, commended JAMB for new reforms and consistent upgrade to ensure smooth registration and admission process.
“The transformation, especially in the use of technology to make the process of registration and admission more efficient has increased the efficiency of the board to approximately 80 percent.
“There are physical updates by the second in the entire system, I have never seen anything like it before now and this is quite helpful for decision making, management and administration,” he said.