This Nigerian university now has 254,000 active students

The National open University is officially Nigeria's largest university.

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The Vice Chancellor of NOUN, Abdalla Adamu, told a magazine in Abuja that the school now has a population of over 250,000 students.

He said:

“I can confidently confirm to you that the total registered active student population is now 254,000 scattered across the 77 study centres in the country”

This automatically makes the National Open University the largest university in Nigeria by student capacity. For context, Obafemi Awolowo University has a population of 35,000 students according to Wikipedia.

What about distribution of study centres?

According to Adamu, this distribution varies from state to state and strictly depends on demand. Abuja for example, has eight centres. But even with this, the Open University can not cater for all the applicants trying to enter the university. Every year, over one million students try to gain admission and only about 500 thousand gain admission.

Now, there are new demands for community study centres, to better equip the university. This demand is more common in the south, which also points to an old problem of a generally more literate south.

The university, according to Adamu, is almost entirely self-sufficient.

“Due to the revenue being generated through the payment of tuition by students, the institution is now able to push out quality materials for students and also planning to shoot this into tablets, so that we have what we call “I-NOUN”.

So this I-NOUN will be a complete package of courses. So we cut out these outsources and created our own services and it is working. The key to sustainability in any Open Distance Learning (ODL) is independence."

The National Open University was first established on 22 July 1983. The goal was to facilitate open and distance learning in Nigeria. On April 25 of 1984, it was suspended by the government.

17 years later on the 12th of April, 2001, the university was revamped by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and it opened with a student strength of 32,400. This number hit 57,759 in 2011, 10 years later.

But just six years later, there has seen over 400% growth. This can generally be attributed to the trust people now have in the University, compared to when they program first began.

This is highly commendable, as it caters for a major problem, and seems to be solving it as efficiently as possible.

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