The African Centre of Excellence on Technology Enhanced Learning (ACETEL), held a virtual meeting with World Bank Consultants, on Thursday, March 30, 2023, from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) headquarters, Jabi, Abuja. The World Bank Consultants, Andree Sursock and Jonathan Williams, had a session with the Director, ACETEL, Prof. Grace Jokthan, and other team members to ascertain the achievements and challenges the centre has been able to make since inception.
Andree Sursock quizzed Prof. Jokthan on a number of activities the centre is engaged with. In her response to Sursock, Jokthan tackled the questions which ranged from student’s registration, grant won by the centre, success in attracting regional students and the challenges, male verse female participation in academics, relationship with university etc. among others questions.
Prof. Jokthan, giving a rundown of ACETEL’s programmes, said the centre was established in 2019 but full academic activities started in 2020. The ACETEL boss said the centre has over 157 students who have gone through internship, which helps the students, in terms of employability afterwards. She also stated that the centre has thirteen (13) short courses, in partnership with Cisco, which gave rise to the ACETEL Cisco Laboratory, with over three thousand (3000) students that have been trained under the short courses with the help of the Cisco partners.
Jokthan added that the centre has academic partners and partners from the private sector. While Sursock quizzed further, Jokthan intimated her of the grant received from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) and how the university has been supportive of ACETEL.
Speaking on some of the challenges encountered, she told Sursock that the time frame the centre has to deliver the ACETEL project is limited, as the centre began full activities in 2020 as against 2019 when it was established.
Sursock, while asking for the number of male versus female students enrolment, adviced that the gender found to be lagging behind should be encouraged to do better. “Do find out if the female students experience challenges in their studies.” She said.
Jonathan William, a World Bank Consultant at the meeting, made enquiry on income generated from students fees, responding to this the ACETEL project accountant, Mr. Felix Nwaba gave the amount that has been generated so far in student fees. Deputy Director ACETEL, Dr. Johnson Opateye, while making his contribution during the meeting, made an appeal to World Bank consultants for more time to have the second set of PhD students, which he complained about that there has being a delay in some academic activities as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. “If the programme wraps up by next year, we will have one set of PhD students.” Johnson
Speaking on how ACETEL has impacted the university, Dr. Opateye said ACETEL provided the NOUN Library with learning resources in terms of software, which gives students access to improve their learning. He added that the software provided is paid for by ACETEL. Research Coordinator 1, Prof. Juliet Inegbedion , in her contribution, said “the area of Digital delivery is an aspect that ACETEL has provided that is so loud, ACETEL was the first to conduct virtual exams, the university has integrated into the system.”
“Through ACETEL it showed that content design, development and delivery is achievable, ACETEL has become a reference point in NOUN.” She said. Prof. Jokthan assured world bank consultants of sustainability and continuity of the centre after the project expires.