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International Colloquium: We’ll provide quality, affordable education to girl-child –FG

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.As UNILAG VC harps on success of Open Distance Learning

Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, has said that her Ministry was working assiduously in sensitizing stakeholders towards ensuring the provision of quality and affordable education to the girl-child.

The Minister said this during an International Colloquium on Open Distance Learning and E-learning held on Thursday at the Professor Nurudeen Alao Hall, Distance Learning Institute, University of Lagos, Akoka.

The Colloquium has the theme: “Recalibrating Open Distance Education and e-learning for Resilient and Inclusive Education”.

According to the Minister, who was represented on the occasion by the Director of Economic Services in her Ministry, Mr. Idris Mohammed said the provision of quality and affordable education to the girl-child was in recognition of the indispensability of education to the girl-child as the bedrock to a healthy and prosperous future “which is in tandem with goals 4&5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.

According to Dame Tallen, this is in recognition of the realization of their protection, development and participation towards a meaningful living.

She pointed out that over the years, crises and other factors apart from the COVID-19 pandemic have disrupted the education of the Nigerian children (especially girl-child) who are indeed the future generations of the country.

The Minister said the Ministry, fully aware of the danger this trend posed to national development, has embarked on ensuring that the Child Rights Act 2003 was passed in 26 States and the VAPP Act of 2015passed in 19 states.

She said the Ministry has also organized and participated in rallies at the Federal and states’ levels to ensure that girls are kept in schools ( one million girls match in 2019).

Dame Tallen also said the launching of a National campaign by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to End Child Marriage in 2016, and developing the National Strategy Document in order to have zero Child Marriage in Nigeria by 2030 and reduce child marriage to 50 per cent by 2021 were part of the Ministry’s efforts to national development.

Earlier in  his welcome address, the UNILAG Vice-Chancellor, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, stated that the Distance Learning Institute in the university has been recording success stories in all its programmes.

The VC stated that Institute has accorded countless individuals from all walks of life, the opportunity and the right platform to pursue tertiary education to meet their peculiar needs.

He said the institute, which started as the Correspondence and Open Studies Unit (COSU) in 1973, metamorphosed into the Correspondence and Open Studies Institute (COSIT)in 1983 and later in 1997, became the Distance Learning Institute.

“Through the evolution of the Institute, it has continued to grow and lead in the provision of Quality Open Distance and Life-Long Education opportunities for producing high-level skilled manpower through a blended mode.

“In support of this pursuit, Management of the University of Lagos has continued to pay close attention to the improvement of ICT facilities available at the institute; this has in turn been yielding good results as evident in the hitch-free conduct of online examinations that have been conducted at the institute over the years.

”Management has also invested resources in the training and retraining of staff of Distance Learning Institute with a view to bringing them up to speed with modern trends in managing Distance Education and this has aided effective service delivery”, the VC said.

The International Colloquium was attended by many other Open Distance Learning experts including the Vice-Chancellor, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Prof. Olugbemiro Jegede; UNESCO Chair on ODL University of  South Africa, Prof. MoeketsiLetseka; Prof. Yemisi  Obashoro-John from Department of Adult Education, UNILAG; and Dr. Akanimo Odon, who is Africa Strategy adviser at Lancaster University, UK.

Others are a political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi, who chaired the event; Dr. Neil Fasina, the keynote speaker, who is also the President of the International Council for Distance Education at Okanagan College, in Canada, and Mr. Kayode Odedina, the director of Open and Distance Education at National Universities Commission Nigeria.

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