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Covenant University’s e-learning initiative

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By Abraham Adekunle

Is this a potential solution to Nigeria's admission challenges?

To address the persistent admission deficit plaguing Nigeria’s tertiary education sector, Covenant University (CU) has unveiled a groundbreaking distance e-learning platform. According to Prof. Abiodun Adebayo, the Vice-Chancellor of CU, this initiative aims not only to mitigate the admission crisis but also to cause educational development across Africa. In an exclusive interview, Prof. Adebayo emphasized the stark reality that four out of every five admission seekers are often denied entry into tertiary institutions in Nigeria. This alarming statistic underscores the urgent need for innovative solutions to broaden access to quality education. The newly launched distance e-learning platform, accredited by the Nigeria Universities Commission (NUC), marks a significant step towards democratizing access to education. It offers a flexible learning environment where students can engage with course materials and lectures at their own pace, irrespective of geographical constraints.

“A lot of persons are not able to secure admission into the university,” Prof. Adebayo lamented. “This was discussed at the last policy meeting with the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board [JAMB]. Covenant University is stepping up to address this gap by opening a distance learning platform to accommodate all potential learners who may not have been able to secure traditional admission.” The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has further underscored the importance of digital education and IT skills. With the demand for digital literacy on the rise, CU’s educational plan comes at a crucial juncture. Prof. Adebayo highlighted that the program initially focuses on Computer Science but plans to expand to other disciplines such as Management, Social Science, Communication, and Business in the near future.

Various programs in the initiative and CU’s global recognition.

“While we are commencing with a BSc in Computer Science, our long-term vision is to offer a diverse range of programs through our distance e-learning platform,” Prof. Adebayo explained. “We are committed to working closely with regulatory bodies to secure accreditation for additional programs, ensuring that we cater to the evolving needs of our prospective students.” CU’s commitment to academic excellence has been further underscored by its recent recognition in the Times Higher Education’s 2024 rankings. The university, along with other esteemed institutions like the University of Ibadan and the Federal University of Technology, Akure, has secured top rankings in Nigeria. Despite global recognition, CU remains dedicated to addressing local challenges and fostering inclusive education opportunities for all.

The e-learning initiative not only addresses the admission deficit but also holds the potential to revolutionize education delivery in Nigeria and beyond. By leveraging technology, CU aims to transcend geographical barriers, empower learners, and bridge the gap between educational aspirations and reality. One of the key advantages of e-learning is its scalability. With traditional classrooms constrained by physical infrastructure and faculty limitations, e-learning offers a scalable solution to accommodate a larger cohort of students without compromising on quality. This scalability is particularly crucial in a country like Nigeria, where the demand for higher education far exceeds the available capacity of institutions.

This initiative is personalized, inclusive, and empowering.

Moreover, e-learning platforms facilitate personalized learning experiences, allowing students to tailor their educational journey to suit their individual needs and preferences. Through interactive multimedia content, virtual classrooms, and online forums, students can engage deeply with course materials and collaborate with peers and instructors from diverse backgrounds. Furthermore, CU’s e-learning initiative aligns with broader efforts to harness technology for socio-economic development in Nigeria. By equipping students with digital skills and competencies, the program not only enhances employability but also cultivates a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. The potential impact of e-learning extends beyond addressing the admission deficit to fostering a knowledge-based economy and driving sustainable development.

By democratizing access to education, CU is laying the foundation for a more inclusive and equitable society, where opportunities for personal and professional growth are accessible to all, regardless of socio-economic background or geographic location. In addition to expanding access to education, CU’s e-learning initiative has the potential to enhance educational outcomes and student engagement. With features such as real-time assessments, interactive simulations, and personalized feedback mechanisms, these platforms offer a dynamic and immersive learning experience that transcends the limitations of traditional pedagogical approaches. Also, CU’s initiative has the potential to empower marginalized communities and bridge the digital divide. By leveraging mobile technology and low-bandwidth solutions, the program can reach learners in remote and underserved areas, providing them with access to quality education and unlocking pathways to social mobility and economic empowerment.

Related Article: Experts seek e-learning for special students

However, realizing the full potential of e-learning requires a concerted effort from stakeholders across the education ecosystem. In addition to infrastructure investments and policy support, there is a need for capacity building initiatives to train educators in online pedagogy and instructional design. Moreover, addressing challenges such as internet connectivity, digital literacy, and affordability is essential to ensure that learning remains accessible and inclusive. Collaborative partnerships between government, academia, and the private sector are vital to overcoming these barriers and building a robust ecosystem that serves the needs of all learners. In all, CU’s plan represents a significant step towards addressing Nigeria’s admission deficit and fostering educational developments in Africa. By harnessing the power of technology, the program has the potential to democratize access to education, enhance learning outcomes, and empower individuals and communities to thrive in the digital age.

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