he Distance Learning Institute (DLI) of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) held an epochal international colloquium titled, “Recalibrating Open Distance Education & e-learning For Resilient &Inclusive Education” on Thursday, September 16, 2021 at the Nurudeen Alao Auditorium, UNILAG.
While delivering his speech, the Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Patrick O. Utomi, founder/CEO, Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL), encouraged all to “not look at technology, but look at learning and see technology as a facilitator”. He emphasised that the most important thing about the learning/educational process is teaching quality and thus charged educationists to focus on how technology can be used to facilitate the nation’s ability to provide quality education to students remotely.
The Director, Distance Learning Institute (DLI), UNILAG, Prof. Uchenna N. Udeani, in her Opening Speech, averred that the increased recognition of the relevance of distance learning has been accompanied by improvement in technology and methods of imparting knowledge remotely. Although technology is rapidly shaping education, it is just a tool for which human touch is still pertinent. Prof. Udeani called on educators to act quickly and boldly to keep up with the change.
The Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Oluwatoyin T. Ogundipe, FAS, gave credence to the activities of the university in incorporating e-learning into its mode of teaching. He asserted that the topic came at the right time, as UNILAG recently conducted online Post-UTME examinations for over 20,000 prospective students. He explained how the University was able to seamlessly carry out online lectures and examinations after the Lockdown and commended the Director and staff of DLI, UNILAG, for bringing joy, visibility and restoration of glory to the University of Lagos. All this, he averted, has re-echoed the UNILAG brand as indeed being the University of first choice and the nation’s pride.
Dame Pauline K. Tallen, OFR, KSG, the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, who was ably represented by Mr. Idris Mohammed, Director of Economic Services in her Ministry, in her goodwill message lauded the initiative taken by the UNILAG DLI to host such a timely colloquium. She expressed hope that discussions at the colloquium will proffer solutions to the challenges of e-Learning and quality education in Nigeria.
Dr. Neil Fassina, President, International Council of Distance Education (ICDE) delivered the Keynote Speech on the theme: “Recalibrating Open Distance Education & e-learning For Resilient &Inclusive Education” virtually.
Mrs. Eugenia Abu, a veteran broadcast journalist moderated the panel discussion, which comprised of renowned professionals:
- Emeritus Professor Olu Jegede, of the National Open University of Nigeria, Abuja, spoke on the “Emerging Landscape for Open Distance and e-Learning.”;
- Prof. Moeketsi Letseka, of the UNESCO Chair on Open Distance Learning, University of South Africa (UNISA), spoke on “Social Justice System and Accessing Resilient and Inclusive Education through Open Distance and e-Learning.”;
- Prof. Yemisi Obashoro-John, of the Department of Adult Education, University of Lagos, Akoka, spoke on “Inclusive Education in Open Distance and e-Learning”;
- Dr. Akanimo Odon, Africa Strategy Adviser, Lancaster University, United Kingdom, spoke on “Youth Engagement: Understanding Career growth and Resilience in the New Era.”; and
- Engr. Kayode Odedina, Director, Open Distance Learning Education, National Universities Commission, Abuja, spoke on “Government Response to Resilient and Inclusive Education through Open Distance & e-Learning.”
The International Colloquium in essence, has reverberated the need for the Nigerian government and educational sector to focus on how to maximise the potentials of the fast-dominating era of e-learning to improve the quality of imparting knowledge. If we get it right, we will strategically position ourselves in the global sphere, young or old, for the future of education and work.