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The National Universities Commission (NUC) has disclosed that its Open Educational Resources (OER) repository currently has over two million OERs in the form of courseware, lecture notes, textbooks, videos, maps, podcast, conference presentations, and journal.
The Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof Abubakar Rasheed, revealed this in Abuja yesterday at a two-day high-level sensitisation workshop on ‘Mainstreaming OER in higher education in Nigeria’, organised by the commission in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL).
Represented by NUC’s Deputy Executive Secretary, Mr. Chris Maiyaki, Rasheed said the facility, which was established in 2017 and maintained by NUC, is currently held by 153 Nigerian universities.
He further disclosed that the commission established the repository and named it the Nigerian University System Open Educational Resources (NUSOER) in its bid to fully encourage the institutionalisation of the use of OER.
According to him, “The repository is maintained by the commission to among others serve as a gateway to open resources which have been held by 153 universities in Nigeria since 2017, adding that in the course of the workshop, the National OER Repository will be formally unveiled and presented.
He said NUC, in its effort to galvanise the universities and assess their full commitment to the OER movement, will continue to evaluate and rank Nigerian Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) as part of efforts to give them visibility and place them on the world OER map.
He said the workshop was conceived and carefully designed to bring to the fore the benefits of OER in higher education.
Rasheed expressed NUC’s readiness to always organise, in collaboration with relevant agencies, capacity programmes to improve the executive capacities of top university leaders and ensure that all higher education institutions are seen to be operating at full strength with some considerable reputational capital.
Speaking on the benefits of OER, he said the use of OER would no doubt enhance the quality and quantity of academic content available to learners at little or no cost, adding that it will also motivate the students to become content creators themselves.
On the part of the teachers, he said it’s hoped that through the use of OER, they will be able to adapt to new methods of teaching and learning, facilitate more interactive learning processes and improve curricula with the most recent developments in their respective fields.
Rasheed expressed the commission’s unwavering commitment to increase access to quality university education to all Nigerians.
Also speaking, the Vice Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Prof Olufemi Peters, said: “OERs have facilitated the access of faculty and students to improve quality teaching and learning resources at reduced costs.”
According to Peters, “The wake, disruption and aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has made OERs to become even more critical to providing massive and ready-made digital learning resources, a necessary tool to deepening content and delivery of knowledge and skills.”
He added that NOUN “is pleased to be a partner of the NUC and COL on this laudable project. It will be recalled that NOUN was an active member of the National Steering Committee which was set up by the Federal Ministry of Education and facilitated by the NUC to develop a national OER policy for higher education in Nigeria in 2017.
“The national policy, which was subsequently approved in 2018 and has since received recognition in international circles, made Nigeria one of the few African countries to have a National OER policy by 2018. Despite this, however, the Nigerian education sector, especially the tertiary level, has not exploited the opportunities provided by this policy to deepening the use of OERs in learning content development.”
In his remarks, the Head of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Dr. Venkataraman Balaji, said COL is a member-country driven organisation, an intergovernmental organisation, which Nigeria has been a member from inception.
Balaji said: “Nigeria is a member of the permanent setup of COL, meaning there are six permanent members which Nigeria is one. So Nigeria has been both a great contributor to COL as well as a recipient of many partnerships and services from COL.
“So this relationship has been working both ways, and COL’s contribution to Nigeria consist of advocacy for open learning, advocacy for distance learning and advocacy for online learning; beside that we have been working with NUC in particular to promote policies that benefit open learning, offer more open educational resources, and offer improved faculty capacity to work with technology in learning.”