The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is sinking as we speak and if nothing is done by the Federal Government and all stakeholders to rescue the institution, Nigeria’s only open and distance learning university will be history in no time.
To be clear, while the bulk of the mess we are dealing with as students revolve around the decision to abruptly close the school’s registration and iLearn platform, the issues go even deeper than that.
The platform is the lifeline of our institution, it is the gateway, the channel through which we the students connect with our lecturers and through which NOUN itself connects to the world.
That channel no longer exists today. The implication of this abrupt closure of the portal and iLearn platform is that all NOUN students can no longer pay their school fees online, register for courses online, get tutorials and other learning materials, access past exam questions, submit assignments and reports, or access results from past sessions and semesters.
NOUN has essentially been stripped of everything that makes it an open and distance learning institution and we the students are paying heavily for that.
It is like after travelling a long distance by road for several times, we are suddenly being asked to ride camels.
We are made to understand that the school management lost all students’ data in the database when the platforms were closed down. As we speak, the school management cannot authoritatively say who is a student or not.
Imagine being born in the age of mobile phones and 4G internet and someone asks you to hire a town crier to broadcast a message to global audience.
So many students have their school fees trapped inside the old portals and are now being asked to pay new fees.
It goes beyond closing down the e-learning and registration portal and throwing the school into the darkness technology-wise.
Essentially, nothing is working in NOUN right now. Our study centres no longer have internet connectivity.
As students, our demands are simple. We implore the management to rethink some of the decisions that have crippled our institution and immediately reinstate the portals so that all students can study without further disruptions.