Plans are afoot by Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria to establish a centre in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as part of the institution’s internationalization project to promote its distance learning degree programmes across the globe.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kabiru Bala, who disclosed this when the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Dutsinma (FUDMA), Dr. Aminu Ado, called on him at the weekend, explained that the University established its presence in Dubai early last year when its Distance Learning Centre partnered stakeholders in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to attract eligible candidates for e-learning academic programmes.
A statement by the University’s public affairs unit on Sunday, said ABU, having established itself as a leading institution in modern open distance learning and e-learning deliveries, launched its internationalization project in UK also last year to attract foreign students and qualified Nigerians in the Diaspora.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Dutsinma, Dr. Aminu Ado, was in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in company of Bursar, Alhaji Abubakar Muhammad Gafai; and University Librarian, Dr. Ukashatu Hamza Musa, to understudy ABU Distance Learning Centre with a view to replicating same at Federal University, Dutsinma.
Prof. Bala further disclosed that ABU was already in partnership with UNESCO-ICHEI for capacity building in the area of digital education, saying that in the next 10 to 20 years the entire learning processes would be digital globally.
The Vice-Chancellor appreciated the initiative by the Federal University, Dusinma to learn from the ABU Distance Learning experience and stressed that the “more education you have the better”.
He said that ABU as a first generation university in Nigeria would assist FUDMA to establish its distance learning programmes and advised that the young university must work hard in the area of training and retraining of staff to achieve the desired objectives.
“This is a good initiative indeed. You can start, but you should know that maintaining the programme is very important, as you have to work very hard.
“We are ready to assist you, when you are ready. But don’t always think we have the solutions to all your problems because the pressure on ABU is much”, he said.
The Vice-Chancellor thanked the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and members of his team for the visit and wished them all the best.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Dutsinma, Dr. Aminu Ado, had earlier told the Vice-Chancellor of his institution’s plans to begin the distance learning programme, saying that based on their study the best place to come for guidance was Ahmadu Bello University.
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“We are of the view that ABU is the best place to come and learn from its distance learning experience. We are here because ABU distance learning programme is the best in Nigeria as adjudged by the National Universities Commission (NUC), besides the fact that the first generation university is a role model.
“With your guide we would be able to replicate in FUDMA; we want you to assist us with the resource persons to help us establish our own Distance Learning Centre; and we also believe that with ABU Distance Learning Centre we would be able to design our own easily”, he said.
The Director, ABU Distance Learning Centre, Prof. M.I. Sule and some members of the DLC Management, including Deputy Director, Learner Supports and IT, Dr. Usman Abubakar Zaria; and DLC Secretary, Hajiya Aisha Baballe, led FUDMA team to the Vice-Chancellor’s office for the courtesy visit.