A NEW DAWN AND A NEW VISION
On behalf of the new Directorate and Management of the Distance Learning Centre, University of Ibadan, it is my pleasure to welcome you to a new dawn
in the administration of the Centre. I should, first give glory to Almighty God in Whose in His awesomeness gives the new Directorate this enablement using the Vice-Chancellery under Prof. A. Idowu Olayinka, FAS. Special thanks, therefore to Mr. Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, FAS for founding me and my deputies, Dr. David Okurame (Administration) and Musibau Adetunji Babatunde (Academic) worthy of the preferment of the offices. While Dr. Okurame is from Psychology Department, Dr. Babatunde is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics Dr. Okurame had previously served as the Deputy Coordinator on behalf of the Department of Psychology.
Let me also use this medium to formally congratulate you on the close of 2015/16 Academic Session with the end of the second semester examinations on 18 February, 2017. While I salute your perseverance and support in spite of our limitations and challenges, I want to assure you of the commitment of the new administration to fast track academic sessions in DLC. Very soon and I repeat very soon, DLC Academic Calendar would be made to be almost at par with your counterparts on regular mode. This administration, God helping us and with your support would have zero tolerance for delay of your programmes.
In the last six years (11 February, 2011 to 11 February, 2017), Prof. Bayo Okunade, JP had led the Centre to an enviable position and a reference in Open and Distance Education (ODE) in Nigeria. The Centre, deeply appreciates his huge contributions in different ways to its advancement. Having been part of the immediate past administration as its Deputy Director (Academic) ten days less the six years of two-term of Prof. Bayo Okunade, I am in a vantage position to understand the Centre’s challenges and aspirations as embedded in its overall agenda. This in itself, places a burden of sort on me as I take over the driver’s seat of the Centre. This is, however, not insurmountable. I declare I will experience God’s counsel that would make the Centre to gloriously excel. I also know that the goodwill of the Vice-chancellery and that of the University community would give us the compass through which I would lead the Centre with my team. Very important to this, is the huge cooperation that the new administration would receive from the staff of the Centre. In all these, the new administration would be able to deliver on the expected mandate that would competitively place the students on Distance Learning platform at par with their counterparts on regular platform in terms of attention and in conformity with the University’s parity of esteem. This is fundamentally, our collective mission.
This mission would be made possible using a new agenda of repositioning and advancement. In effect, the Centre under my leadership would continue to leverage on the legacies I jointly built with the administration of Prof. Bayo Okunade. While doing so, I would not foreclose the fact that change is the only constant thing given the fact that knowledge itself is dynamic and developmental. In all these, our resolve would be to build a Centre that would move from the provision of ODE to becoming a Centre of excellence in Africa. Achieving this mandate, is all encompassing: the Vice-chancellery, the Senate of the University, the Centre’s Management, the University community, the staff of the Centre, and willingness of our students to support the vision.
Having a Centre of excellence would also require us to build a 21st Century Open and Distance Learning Institution. Our mandate is therefore, moving from being the best of the six accredited centres in Nigeria to ranking with UNISA and other Distance Learning Centres globally. In that light, I would lead my team to achieve the following:
· Getting DLC Calendar of Activities Right. This would shore up the image of DLC. This, I have come to know has always been a challenge to us at DLC. I have resolved to engage stakeholders on the need to address this. I have also made it known that henceforth, DLC Calendar would receive the approval of the University Senate with a view to making the university underscores Distance Learning platform. For emphasis, the new administration would fast-track your programme by ensuring that 2016/17 academic session commences in April. Consequent on this, it means returning students would have only two months after the formal closure of 2015/16 academic session on 18 February, 2017. Very soon, details of this would be made known to you.
· On prompt release of results, I am aware of the challenge you face in this regard. As a matter of fact, it has always been very disturbing to me personally as a former Deputy Director (Academic) whose oversight functions included conduct of examinations and release of results. Efforts would be made to quality-assured prompt release of your results. My minimum assurance in this regard is to ensure that I present our final year student for graduation in November, 2017. As I intend to do so, you need to do your own part by making sure that you complete your project on or before May, 2017.
· Strengthening of the existing six programmes. At moment, there are six programmes in DLC. These programmes would be further strengthened with a view to making sure that course materials are reviewed.
· Recently, the former administration of which I was a key player submitted nine programmes to the National Universities Commission. This, would be pursued and I believe we would achieve 100 % revalidation success. The programmes are: Educational Management, Guidance and Counselling, Adult Education, Library and Archival Information, Statistics (old programmes disaccredited in 2012), Sociology, History and Diplomatic Studies, Computing and Information Science and Nursing (new programmes).
· Other programmes not listed above and that are yet to be quality-assured using 70 benchmark of course materials availability would be made to come on board by encouraging facilitators to do so. Let me assure you that we are receiving cooperation in that direction.
· Strengthening our Postgraduate Programmes: As a matter of fact, our postgraduate programmes (two in Sociology Department and one in Guidance and Counselling) have not been faring very well. The new administration in response to that challenge, has established a separate unit that would henceforth take care of postgraduate programmes on DLC platform. There are other postgraduate programmes that would be made to come on Distance Learning platform.
· In my bid to further enhance visibility of the Centre and cause it to reinvigorate its excellence, three new units (Postgraduate, Research, Publication and Communication and Committee Office) have been established. Also, DLC’s Newsletter and Annual Report would become a regular feature in the university. The Newsletter would be a channel through which information on activities at the Centre would be disseminated to all. It would be both in hard and soft copies.
· Development of our Alumni base: The new administration intends to work on data of our former students and those of you that would soon graduate from the university. Many of our students are doing well in their various organisations including universities as academics and administrators. The time is now for DLC to recognise that category of good people who had one time or the other studied on DLC platform. At the appropriate time, there would be an inauguration of the Alumni/Alumnae Body of DLC.
· Academic Standard: Strong disciplinary record against any form of misconduct will be ensured in order to maintain the quality of graduates from the distance learning programme. This is needed to ensure that quality graduates that are competitive are produced from the programmes.
· Teacher Registration Council of Nigeria: Professionalisation of teaching profession is now a big issue in Nigeria. The Teacher Registration Council of Nigeria had approached the Centre for us to get our students in the Faculty of Education professionally certified as their counterparts on regular programme in the same Faculty do. Just last week, there was an induction of another batch of batch of students with Bachelor of Education degrees. In the spirit of parity of esteem which DLC prides itself, there is a strong need to making sure that students on DL platform in the Faculty of Education enjoy the same privilege of teaching professionalisation. Very soon, the processes of registration would be communicated to you.
The above points represent the abridged agenda that would be pursued in the course of my directorship. This becomes expedient in the overall interest of our students and other stakeholders.
I thank you all.
Prof. Oyesoji Aremu, cf., jp