Nigerian prisoners have been offered free education by the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), to help them to acquire formal education and improve their quality of life.
This measure is part of the university’s efforts to ensure that education was accessible to every Nigerian, and in keeping up with its mandate of making university education accessible to the less privileged in the society.
Director, NOUN Abakaliki Study Centre, Dr. Jonathan Aliede, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abakaliki on Monday.
Dr. Aliede said the university is providing scholarship opportunity to all prisoners in Nigeria which means any person in prison does not need to bother about paying for school fees in the National Open University of Nigeria. The free tuition covers any course of studies at diploma, first and masters’ degree levels.
This policy, if supported by the Federal Government through adequate funding, would make the university a very strong instrument of actualizing the educational programmes of this country.
Aliede said the policy was to ensure that education was available to every Nigerian irrespective of religion, sex, social and economic background and or where one is living.
He described the NOUN as answer to the educational problem of the country in view of the number of students who take the JAMB every year and could not be admitted as a result of non-availability of spaces.
Secondly, with the high cost of education these days, even the mission schools that are supposed to be cheaper are so costly that so many people can not afford it. Even the state universities are also not affordable because of the high costs, he said.
The National Open University of Nigeria therefore bridges this gap because it is very cheap as a federal university and the flexibility it offers also makes it possible for people to combine what ever they are doing.
He also mentioned that the university had introduced conference marking of exam papers to checkmate the issues associated with missing scripts.
Explaining further, he said this system helps to detect students who did not write the examination unlike what was obtained in the past where scripts are marked in Lagos making it difficult for students in far away centres not able to tackle any perceived problems.