THE National Universities Commission has listed infrastructure, power, and internet access as some of the major challenges why Nigerian universities cannot operate 100 per cent e-learning for now.
In view of the exigencies, especially the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission is also undertaking the review of its 2009 guidelines on e-learning to prepare the grounds for effective e-learning in the country.
NUC’s Deputy Executive Secretary (Academics), Dr Suleiman Ramon-Yusuf, who spoke in Abuja on Wednesday, said the new guidelines would be announced as soon the process is completed.
“We are preparing grounds for e-learning; our new guidelines are being reviewed; NUC will announce these new guidelines,” he said.
He expressed concerns over integrity issues surrounding the operation of e-learning mode in the country, insisting that e-learning must pass the integrity test before being fully embraced.
He said: “We want to ensure that when there is e-learning in place, it would be run in such a manner that every student is accounted for, every student has an e-portfolio which enables everyone to know that it is this student that registered for this course and it is that same student that has been doing the assessment test and the examination; and that learning is taking place in an evidence basis.
“We need to sit down and articulate the requirements for e-learning: materials, men and women, infrastructure; what should we put in place, how should we proceed; we can’t do e-learning today in Nigeria. What we can do is blended learning.
“Anybody who is making noise that e-learning must start tomorrow is either mischievous or ignorant. If he knows what e-learning entails, no one can decree e-learning in Nigeria before the end of this year.
“We need to plan; we need to invest; we need to train. After putting all the infrastructures in place, we need training of teachers. You must get them to have a mindset shift.”
According to him, private open universities will come on board when all stakeholders are satisfied that the country has what it takes to guarantee quality and integrity of the e-learning programme, in order not create a window for the proliferation of worthless certificates under e-learning.
He further said the e-learning mode must be based on integrity, verifiable quality as each learner must be accounted for in terms of the competencies that they have acquired so that they can be worthy in character and learning.
Ramon-Yusuf also noted that many academic staff in universities are not quite up to speed in terms of the digital competencies that they require to be able to operate meaningfully in a virtual learning environment.