In its bid to making education accessible to the less privileged in the society, the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) has granted a 100 per cent tuition waiver to prison inmates desiring university education across the country.
Vice Chancellor of NOUN, Prof Abdalla Uba Adamu who disclosed this in Abuja, while hosting the Vice Chancellor of the Nigerian Turkish Nile University, Prof Huseyin Sert stated that the waiver, which before now was pegged at 50 per cent would enable the inmates have unfettered access to quality education and also encourage others take advantage of this initiative to acquire education.
The new policy shift by NOUN management would open the space of admission for several inmates in the various prisons in the country. In the last three convocation ceremonies, some of the prison inmates graduated.
Adamu, who cited lack of meaningful social support system for inmates to acquire education in the country, said, “Having suffered abandonment by relatives, emotional and physical confinement, prison inmates would see such gesture from NOUN as a measure meant to reduce the burden on them and to provide the platform to improve and make themselves better citizens.”
In a release signed by the Director, Media and Publicity of the institution, Malam Ibrahim Sheme, the VC further explained that NOUN, being a single mode institution charged with the responsibility of adding lifelong value to those yearning for quality education, would also explore the option of taking education to young girls, who for cultural reasons cannot access education.
The visit by Prof Sert, afforded the host, Prof Adamu the opportunity to enumerate areas of collaboration between the two institutions.
The VC of NOUN, expressed his desire for the authorities of the two universities to explore the areas of peace studies and conflict resolution, in view of global threat to peace, cultural performances, exchange programmes for staff and students of these universities and a Public Private Partnership approach to solving problems of mutual interest.
As part of efforts to strengthen international collaborations, Adamu also hinted that a concept of ‘Diaspora NOUN’ would soon come on stream, to enable Nigerians living and working in Anglophone countries to have access to education at their convenience and affordable rates. He cited Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone as some of the countries to consider for this unique initiative.
Earlier, Prof Sert described Nigeria and Turkey as countries with mutually beneficial potentials.
He said part of the Corporate Social Responsibility of his university, was to collaborate with state governments in Nigeria to improve access to tertiary education, adding that it has found a ready ally in NOUN to achieve this lofty idea.