354 prison inmates on list
By Martin Paul Abuja
Students’ population at the National Open University of Nigeria has risen from 200,000 last year to 400, 000 in the third quarter of this year, ViceChancellor of the University, Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu has disclosed. Of this fi gure, Adamu said there are 354 prison inmates studying at no cost, a scheme he described as the institution’s fl agship. Adamu said: “As I am talking now, there are 354 prison inmates studying various courses free. We cannot ask them to pay because they are locked up, but if they complete their courses today, they would have to look for money to pay before collecting their certifi cates.
“What excites me is that many of them are studying security-related courses like criminology and law, showing they want to know more about what caused them to be where they are. “We also have opportunities for juvenile youths, who are studying skills acquisition in Kaduna state.” He made the disclosures yesterday while receiving in audience the Chairman/ Publisher of Blueprint Newspapers, Malam Mohammed Idris and the management team who visited him at the university in Abuja. Th e VC further said, NOUN’s study centres had also increased from 72 to 78 across the country.
He disclosed that of the 400,000 students, no fewer than 150, 000 are actively engaged in the system, adding that communities had signifi cantly contributed by setting up centres in their various domains to boost students’ intake in their localities. “In a situation the community provides a centre, they stand the chance of getting their indigenes employed and if they have a professor there, then he or she can become the centre coordinator,” he said. Adamu said this step was taken to make it easy for the university, because it would be rather diffi cult to deploy staff to areas they are not familiar with. Besides, the varsity helmsman said NOUN also has 16 specialised centres, while another one had been established for prison inmates.
On institutions that denied NOUN graduates admission for postgraduate studies, Adamu said that has become a thing of the past, acknowledging that Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, had started admitting NOUN graduates to study nursing, which was not so before. Earlier, the publisher, Malam Idris had commended the vicechancellor for the giant strides recorded since taking over the mantle of leadership in the university, describing him as “not only a professor of science education , but also of media and culture.”
He disclosed that the visit was to further expressed the company’s appreciation to the VC for picking the pioneering editor of the newspaper, Ibrahim Sheme as his director of media, saying Sheme had been “a veritable product for the newspaper” such that releasing him was a hard decision. He expressed the medium’s readiness to assist and partner with the institution in achieving its set goals.