ICTs and Distance Education in Nigeria

ICTs and Distance Education in Nigeria

Nwachukwu Prince Ololube (NOVENA University Ogume, Nigeria) and Andrew Egba Ubogu (Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 5
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-845-1.ch053
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Abstract

Advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs) have posed complex problem for colleges and universities in Nigeria especially in their distance education programs (Ololube, 2006). Improving the quality of education through the diversification of contents and methods and promoting experimentation, innovation, the diffusion and sharing of information and best practices as well as policy dialogue are UNESCO’s strategic objectives in education (UNESCO, 2002, 2005). As such, information and communication technologies (ICTs) literacy rate have become key tools that have a revolutionary impact on how we see the world and how we live in it. This phenomenon has given birth to the contemporary and advances in our ways of life. ICTs are having a revolutionary impact on educational methodology. However, this revolution is not widespread and needs to be strengthened to reach a large percentage of the population through distance education. In a complex society, many factors affect distance education. Hence an interdisciplinary and integrated approach is very necessary to ensure the successful development of Nigeria’s economy and society (Mac-Ikemenjima, 2005).
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Introduction

Advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs) have posed complex problem for colleges and universities in Nigeria especially in their distance education programs (Ololube, 2006). Improving the quality of education through the diversification of contents and methods and promoting experimentation, innovation, the diffusion and sharing of information and best practices as well as policy dialogue are UNESCO’s strategic objectives in education (UNESCO, 2002, 2005). As such, information and communication technologies (ICTs) literacy rate have become key tools that have a revolutionary impact on how we see the world and how we live in it. This phenomenon has given birth to the contemporary and advances in our ways of life. ICTs are having a revolutionary impact on educational methodology. However, this revolution is not widespread and needs to be strengthened to reach a large percentage of the population through distance education. In a complex society, many factors affect distance education. Hence an interdisciplinary and integrated approach is very necessary to ensure the successful development of Nigeria’s economy and society (Mac-Ikemenjima, 2005).

The academic landscape in Nigeria includes the teaching and learning process, along with the educational programs and courses and the pedagogy or methodology of teaching; the research process, including dissemination and publication; libraries and information services; higher education administration and management, and distance education programs (Beebe, 2004). According to the national policy on education, in Federal Republic of Nigeria (1989), higher education refers to post-secondary section of the national education system which is given in universities, polytechnics and colleges of technologies including such courses as are given by colleges of education, correspondence colleges and such institutions as may be allied to them. The terms of references for these institutions of higher education through the national policy on education are:

  • • The acquisition, development and inculcation of the proper value-orientation for the survival of the individual and society.

  • • The development of intellectual capacities of individuals to understand and appreciate their environments

  • • The acquisition of both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to develop into useful members of the community

  • • The acquisition of an objective view of the local and external environments (p. 22)

The Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) through its national policy on education detailed that the goal of distance education should be to:

  • • Provide access to excellence education and equity in educational opportunities for those who otherwise would have been denied.

  • • Meet special needs of employers by mounting special certificate courses for their employees at their work place.

  • • Encourage internationalization especially of tertiary education curricula.

  • • Restructure the effect of internal and external brain drain in tertiary institutions by utilizing Nigerian experts as teachers regardless of their locations or places of work (p. 45)

Thus, the federal government is convinced that for higher education to make optimum contribution to national development, ICTs are essential ingredient to foster its implementation. Though, the integration of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in distance education programs in Africa has not been encouraging and has been the topic of a good deal of debate globally. Although in Nigeria, the relationship between the development of ICTs penetration and use in distance education programs and its diffusion into the programs in higher education is dependent upon a number of factors.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Access of Information through ICTs: The amount of information accessible to individuals to support them in trying new strategies, thinking and creativity that are reflective in practice aimed at engaging them to new innovations through the use of ICTs.

ICT: Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are advances in technologies that provide a rich global resource and collaborative environment for dissemination of ICT literacy materials, interactive discussions, research information, and international exchange of ideas, which are critical for advancing meaningful educational initiatives, training high skilled labor force, and understanding issues related to economic development. ICTs highlight innovative efforts and partnerships and promote ICTs literacy, and facilitate interaction between all sectors of a national economy including external spheres.

Standard: Standard in this context is the degree of excellence required for a particular purpose; it is an accepted or approved example against which phenomenon are judged or measured.

ICT Competencies: Involves but not restricted to the use an online catalogue to identify and locate resources for a specific information need, keyword search strategies to refine operational situations, browser and search engine to locate and retrieve appropriate information and the use of other ICTs instructional materials that aid teaching and learning situations

Open and Distance Education: Distance education, also called open or distance learning is a form of education in which there is normally a separation between teachers and learners. Thus, it includes one which others may refer to as a means of the printed and written word, the telephone, computer conferencing or teleconferencing used to bridge the physical gap between the instructor and the learner. Distance education equally involves the provision of whatever educational opportunities that are needed by anyone, anywhere, at any time for those who otherwise would have been denied.

ICT Literacy: The capability (knowledge, skills, and aptitude) of a person to identify, search effectively and present specific information in order to build knowledge and develop critical and creative thinking pertinent to a field of study.

Excellence: Excellence in this paradigm is a generally accepted best ways of doing things in education in search of distinction in teaching and learning situations. It is an essential component of best practice that creates quality teaching strategies that produces improved scholarship.

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