THE DIRECTOR’S SPEECH AT THE 2016/2017 MATRICULATION AND ORIENTATION PROGRAMME OF DISTANCE LEARNING CENTRE (DLC) HELD AT THE DLC COMPUTER-BASED TESTING CENTRE, AJIBODE EXTENSION, UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN
Tuesday, June 6 - Thursday, June 8, 2017
The Vice Chancellor
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration)
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research Innovation and Strategic Partnership)
Members of the University Governing Council
The Provost of the College of Medicine
Deans of Faculty, Student and Postgraduate School
Directors of Institute
Members of Senate
Members of the Press
Ladies and gentlemen
It gives me great joy to see this day come to pass. I say this because for six solid years, I stood firmly by the immediate past Director in the person of Prof. Bayo Okunade as his Deputy Director (Academic). I worked doggedly with him to ensure that every Matriculation and Orientation programme we held was a success. Little did I know that it was a training ground for me. I sincerely want to thank him for the confidence reposed in me during those years. Ultimately, I give thanks to God that today; we are holding the first Matriculation under the administration led by me. Therefore, on behalf of the new Directorate and Management team of the Distance Learning Centre (DLC), University of Ibadan, it is my pleasure to welcome you to this very august occasion. I have deliberately used the phrase ‘very august’ because this is the very first time this event would be taking place on a DLC facility. Though the rescheduling was due to exigencies, in retrospect, I count it a blessing and a remarkable feat for this administration.
I wish to welcome you to a new dawn in the administration of the Centre. I give due glory to the Almighty God who in His mercy has given us the rare privilege of steering the ship of DLC at this time. I must also express my profound gratitude to the Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka, FAS who has graciously considered me and my two Deputy Directors, Dr David Okurame (Administration) and Dr M.A. Babatunde (Academic), for the great task of leading DLC and keeping her at the forefront of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) delivery in Nigeria.
Before I proceed, I need to reiterate a point I have been making on every platform and medium I am privileged to access to share the gospel of Open and Distance Education. Distance Learners are not second class students in the University of Ibadan. DLC learners graciously benefit from every right and privileges enjoyed by regular students. One of the core tenets that guide DLC activities in the University of Ibadan is parity of esteem. Our courses are facilitated by lecturers from Departments in the mainstream who have received relative training on ODL. Our Course Materials also have the same course contents as in the regular students’. And the certificates received by Distance Learners are the same as that awarded to regular students.
From the foregoing, it is imperative to note that DLC as a mode of study offers the platform for running degree and postgraduate programmes in selected disciplines which are not disconnected from those in the conventional mode. We exist to uphold the vision, philosophy and culture of the University of Ibadan without compromising the principles of Open and Distance Education. Of course, the question could be asked as to why DLC, especially one that is working towards being a provider of ODL that is largely mediated by technology? The answers are not farfetched.
First and foremost, you would agree with me that inadequate access to tertiary education is a great problem in our dear country. But I would say that ODL is the solution to access. This matriculation exercise lays credence to the credibility of an equivalent institution like DLC. There is no limit to enrolment under the ODL mode hence the need for prospecting candidates to plug into this paradigm shift. Open and Distance Education is the way to go if Nigeria would tag along global trends in education. We cannot continue to put ourselves in the straitjacket of status quo when a viable alternative as offered by DLC is there to be explored.
Also, DLC ODL model is blended as it is not wholly online given our circumstances in Nigeria. However, it is blended but with limited face-to-face contact. The beauty of ODL is in its flexibility. At DLC, physical presence is not compulsory; Distance Learners are supposed to be self-paced learners. However, we have various virtual platforms which can be explored for interaction with Academic Advisors (AAs) who are domiciled in the Centre for real time interaction. This implies that before interactive sessions, which span for an average of four weeks, with facilitators, learners must have been having series of on line mediations with the AAs. Whenever our learners are in the confines of their homes, offices or cars, they can learn. We have audio and audio-visual materials to aid learning apart from the course materials which have been designed to conform to ODL requirements.
Furthermore, one other reason why our students should be proud of this mode is our high subscription to technology and global best practice. In this information age, learners can channel their ICT prowess to achieving academic excellence. Also, a Computer-Based Testing centre of this magnitude is very important to facilitate our Computer-Based Examinations. This facility has three halls which can accommodate five hundred learners each. Computer systems have been installed and networked in two of the halls, while the process of installation and networking has begun on the third hall. Because of limited capacity of CBT Centres, this complex complements privately provided CBT services in Ibadan with the inevitable consequence of conducting our examinations within a shorter period. It would interest you to know that the Centre participated in the just concluded JAMB registration and examination exercise registering over eight thousand candidates.
The UI DLC portal is configured to suit the various needs of our learners and it is learner-friendly. It is gladdening to note that the orientation of our learners have changed tremendously. There is now full compliance with the directive we give from time to time on our portal. It is no small feat that our learners subscribe 100% to communication with the Centre through the dedicated email addresses assigned to them. It is worth noting that DLC would not relate officially with any of its learners except through the dedicated email addresses; i.e. their matriculation numbers dot their surnames @dlc.ui.edu.ng. The very first thing we stress which is the most important thing for DLC learners is to have the fundamental knowledge of the computer. Everyone carries a smart phone these days, but for a DLC learner, you must be able to maximize the devise for academic gains.
Permit me to also submit that our charges are pocket-friendly. U.I. DLC charges the least among other ODL institutions in Nigeria. We complement this with quality service delivery as an ODL mode of acquiring a degree from the prestigious University of Ibadan which ranks as the first and the best university in Nigeria. Our workforce is stocked with dedicated and trained personnel to drive our activities.
I also wish to note that there are different means of correspondence with the Centre. Our Learner Support Unit has dedicated hotlines and email addresses that serve the complaint and enquiry needs of learners adequately. You would be acquainted with our activities and operations in the orientation which would be held tomorrow and Thursday. Different heads of Core Units in the Centre would take you through the necessary information that would successfully guide you on your sojourn through UI DLC.
As I conclude, I wish to note that one of the missions of the University of Ibadan which aptly addresses the need for students to be of good conduct states thus: ‘to produce graduates who are worthy in character and sound judgment’ obtains on the DLC mode. Intellectual prowess is not enough to qualify as a graduate of the University of Ibadan; character is the second wing with which graduates of this esteemed university soar. This is why DLC first class graduates are a pride to the university in their various endeavours. I am soliciting your commitment and cooperation as you commence this journey today with an oath. The doors of the success are wide open, let the bold and visionary enter.
Once again, I welcome you to this ceremony. Please maximize this august occasion for a good footing on the programme. I sincerely look forward to seeing you during your convocation with smiles of accomplishment. I congratulate parents, guidance and well wishers. May the good Lord continue to prosper our ways. Your presence here is well appreciated.
Prof. A. Oyesoji Aremu cf., jp.