In August 2023, I had the honour of assuming the role of Vice Chancellor at Miva Open University, a premier private open university in Nigeria, marking a significant milestone in my career journey. However, this accomplishment was not achieved in isolation; it was the result of a transformative journey facilitated by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL). In this personal account, I aim to share the pivotal moments and insights gained from my experiences, highlighting the contribution of COL towards my current accomplishment.
I have taken part in a number of COL-supported capacity-building projects in Nigeria, particularly those run by RETRIDOL. This laid the foundation for my appointment as Director of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Open and Distance Learning (ODL) Centre in 2019. In 2021, Dr. Kayode Odedina, the Director of Open and Distance Education (ODE) at the National Universities Commission (NUC) in Nigeria, informed me that our centre had been selected to participate in the COL’s capacity development training programme. This was followed by communications from Professor Jane-Frances Agbu, Adviser, Higher Education at the Commonwealth of Learning, which laid the foundation for a fruitful partnership.
We engaged in discussions about our centre’s specific training needs, which ultimately led to the launch of capacity buildings under ODL provisions. COL’s support extended to various areas, including enhancing our ODL policy, implementing an authentic assessment framework, and developing and implementing policy on Open Educational Resources (OER). These training programmes offered more practical opportunities to increase our capacity and effectiveness than merely didactic lessons. The COL training sessions empowered our centre in ways we had never imagined. We realised that sharing knowledge and expertise made us more visible and influential. We harnessed COL’s templates to draft an acceptable OER policy that simplified the courseware development process, facilitating its adoption by other centres. Our courses became templates for adaptation, expediting courseware development and regulatory approvals across Nigeria.
My appointment as Vice Chancellor of Miva Open University, the first of four newly-approved private open universities in Nigeria, exemplifies this. The recognition and visibility gained during my tenure at LAUTECH propelled me into this leadership role, further emphasising the profound impact of COL on my growth in the ODL field.
My journey from the Director of LAUTECH Open and Distance Learning Centre to the pioneering Vice Chancellor of MIVA Open University is a testament to the transformative power of collaboration, innovation, and dedication in the field of open and distance learning. I am grateful for the support received from COL, and I look forward to continuing our mission of revolutionising education in Nigeria for the benefit of all. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sim Shagaya, an outstanding supporter of educational innovation and the Chancellor of Miva Open University, for seeking out the best to lead this new citadel of learning. Deep gratitude to COL’s President and CEO, Professor Asha Kanwar, for her visionary leadership. And to Professor Agbu of COL for her resilience in propagating the vision of COL within the higher education sector. Together, we are redefining education to create a brighter future for all.
As you are reading this, I encourage you to explore opportunities for flexible and qualitative education available at Miva Open University. Get a degree that gets you hired!