Established in 1960, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka remains one of the pillars of university education, research and scholarship in Nigeria. As the first indigenous university in Nigeria, the University of Nigeria was founded at independence in 1960 upon the philosophy “To seek Truth, teach Truth and preserve Truth” with the mandate “To Restore the Dignity of Man”.
According to the Law enacted by the Eastern Nigeria House of Assembly on 28th January 1955, the University of Nigeria was intended “to hold forth to all classes and communities whatsoever an encouragement for pursuing a regular and liberal course of education” and “to organize, improve and extend education of a University standard”. In line with this vision of the founding fathers of the university, the current administration seeks to make the University of Nigeria an academic giant and pace-setter in research, innovative teaching and robustness of its community service and global visibility. Recent global developments have afforded us the opportunity to profitably re-examine our vision, mission, structure, policies and processes with a view to improving on our performance. Up till now, the University has concentrated on the face-to-face mode of programme delivery. It is observed however that this mode is grossly inadequate for meeting the demand for higher level education, especially among the 170 million people that constitute the population of the country. Furthermore, the educational services being offered in the University are also demanded by foreign candidates who are not desirous of permanent change of residence during the period of studentship.
The University has observed therefore that the distance learning mode of programme delivery is now requisite at this stage in the development of the University. In careful consideration of this trend, the University Senate and Governing Council have with a deep sense of responsibility decided to respond positively by proposing to venture into the distance learning mode, by establishing a Centre for Distance Learning, not only for the benefits of the Nigerian people but for the benefits of the entire world. It should be noted here that distance and e-learning is consistent with a core object of the University, declared at inception: “to organize, improve and extend education of a university standard’.
Across the world, there is increasing demand for distance learning education. There are two forces at play. The first is the global surge in quest for non-residential formal education and learning for the acquisition of academic and professional knowledge. The second is the possibilities of delivery of education created by the ICT revolution. Hence, universities are presently and will in the future be defined not only by physical growth in learning infrastructure but also by the innovative use of information and communication technology (ICT) to deliver learning to candidates in diverse locations.
The establishment of open distance and e-learning education is one of the key institutional strategies to achieve global visibility. While recognizing that no single mode of programme delivery is best for every situation and every type of learning, open distance and e-learning provides substantial advantages over other modes in several areas, including reduced cost and improved access to education. Accordingly, the University is moving aggressively to adopt and apply open distance and e-learning, where it is the best platform to deliver quality training and education to individuals who may not have access to formal institutions of learning.