President Muhammadu Buhari says he signed the amended law establishing the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) in a bid to resolve the long-term non-recognition of the institution’s graduates in the law.
The President disclosed this while speaking at the combined 9th and 10th convocation ceremony of the institution which was held virtually on Saturday.
In a statement by the spokesperson of the institution, Ibrahim Sheme Saturday evening, President Buhari was represented by Ramon Yusuf, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC).
The president also said the NOUN is delivering on its mandate by taking education to the doorstep of Nigerians.
He said his administration has placed a great premium on education, especially in ensuring lifelong learning via the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode.
Signed in December 2018, the amended law allows the institution to operate as all other universities and have the same power, functions and administrative structures which eliminates possible discrimination.
The National Assembly had initially passed a bill for an Act to Amend the National Open University Act Cap N6 LFN 1983 (Amendment) Bill 2017.
Speaking further, Buhari lauded the management of the institution for their efforts in ensuring access to higher education is widened in the country.
He added that education, including lifelong learning via the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode, remains a priority of his administration
A total of 32,725 students convocated during the combined ceremony.
According to Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, the institution’s Vice-Chancellor,, 24,300 graduands were from the 2020 graduating class while 8,425 graduands were from the 2021 set.
He explained that the decision to postpone the convocation ceremony last year was informed by the global outbreak of COVID-19.
Adamu, whose five-year tenure will end in February, maintained that his administration was guided by the “dedication and singular focus in moving the university from a static provider of ODL to dynamic process of transformation of higher education delivery models in Africa.”
While lauding the decision to hold the ceremony virtually, Professor Peter Okebukola, the chairman of Governing Council, maintained that it would set a standard for other universities across the country.