Scholars find ways distance learning can quicken development

About three hundred and fifty scholars, experts, top government officials, policy-makers, managers, administrators in the academia, other key stakeholders and practitioners in Open and Distance Learning (LODL) in and outside Africa, met for four days in Lagos for the 2nd African Council for Distance Education (ACDE) conference and General Assembly, hosted by the National Open University of Nigeria.

They discussed various ways by which the application of distance education policies and systems can contribute to sustainable development.

The theme of the conference was “Open and Distance Learning for Sustainable Development.” Development partners and inter-governmental agencies such as UNESCO, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), and the World Bank were also represented at the conference.

Nigeria's permanent delegate to UNESCO, Professor Michael Omolewa, gave the keynote address, tracing the early beginning of distance learning in the country, pioneered by a very few Nigerians who studied by correspondence to obtain degrees of London University, ever before University of Ibadan was established.

He paid glowing tribute to the tenacity, hardwork, commitment, sacrifice, dedication, determination and zeal of these fore fathers of distance education who used Wolsey Hall and Rapid Result College tuition to get external degree. Omolwewa also canvassed the need to strengthen Open Distance Learning as a “viable and alte4rnative mode for widening access to education at all levels.”

Sir John Daniel, President of Commonwealth of Learning (COL) gave the closing address. Other agencies and institutions presented goodwill messages.

According to the communique issued at the end of the conference held in Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos, Nigeria, the conference sub-themes on which papers were presented and facilitated by eminent scholars, experts and practitioners during both plenary and parallel sessions covered a broad range of related and relevant issues.