Kano State is said to be leading other states in the number of Nigeria Open University (NOU) learning centres, while the Southeast zone has the least number among other zones in the country.
This was revealled yesterday during the commissioning of the first Community Learning Centre at Asaga-Ohafia by the NOU Vice Chancellor, Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics), Professor Kalu Kalu Orji.
Out of the 95 study centres in the country, 17 are said to be in Kano, 16 of which were facilitated by the state lawmakers in form of constituency projects.
The NOU first established one centre in each state, but with the commissioning of the Asaga-Ohafia Centre, which was facilitated by the community, Abia State has became the first state to have a community open study/learning centre, in addition to an NOU study centre in the zone.
Speaking while commissioning the centre, Orji urged other communities to emulate Asaga-Ohafia, noting that the only study centre in the state was established by NOU at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike.
He tasked the community to quickly ready the hall by May this year, when the pioneer students would be admitted to commence classes.
According to Orji, NOU has over 500,000 students in all classes of degree programmes, adding that NOU is the largest Open University in Africa and runs 20 to 22 academic sessions.
Commending community for brazing the trail, he predicted that the centre would attract up to 1,000 students, even as the state government promised to assist it.
President General of Asaga-Ohafia Development Union, Chief Iheanacho Ukaha, disclosed that the journey to the establishment of centre started in 2019 when the leadership of union’s Education Committee, in discharging its mandate of resolving the educational constraints and challenges of the community, drew the attention of the National Executive Committee to the prospect of attracting an NOU Study Centre to the community in line with the university’s policy of taking education to the doorstep of Nigerians in the councils.
Commending NOU for continuing to expand access to higher education through open and distant learning programmes that have benefited many Nigerians, Ukaha expressed optimism that the centre, being the only one outside Umuahia, would impact positively not only the lives of the people, but also others outside.
He urged NOU management to provide employment to his people and offer what he called other ancillary services to the community.
In their remarks, two elders of the community, Dr. Sunny Ukweni and Elder Emma Kalu Kalu Onugu, said the centre would serve not only Asaga-Ohafia, but also the neighbouring Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi and Imo states, among others.