The recent amendment of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) Act by the Senate has brought to an end the long-standing bottleneck in the Act that denied graduates of the institution opportunity to be mobilised by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the Law School.
The historic passage of the amendment, the first in the history of the institution since its initial establishment by the Shehu Shagari administration in 1982, has removed the perception in some quarters that the university was a part-time one.
The use of “correspondence” in the Act made the Council of Legal Education, the umbrella body that calls law graduates to the law school, and the NYSC to refuse the university’s graduates the chance to enrol, like their counterparts in conventional universities.
But the amendment to the Act by the Senate expunged the bottlenecks and recognises the university as a full-time, Open and Distance Learning institution in Nigeria. There are other areas where the amendment touches, including the incorporation of technology in the mode of learning as an ODL institution among others.
The Senate’s final endorsement followed the clause-by-clause consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund chaired by Senator Barau Jibrin on the amendment of NOUN Act.
Senator Barau, an APC senator from Kano State, told his colleagues that the amendment would address the perception of the public about the university regarding the contentious “correspondence” usage in the Act.
The senator, while introducing the report of his committee said “These two concepts correspondence and part-time significantly affect the way the public views the programmes run by the University.
“This has been the reason why the law graduates of the school are not admitted into the Nigerian Law School as well as the reason for the non-inclusion of the graduates of the University into the National Youth Service Corps Scheme.”