The Africa Centre of Excellence on Technology Enhanced Learning (ACETEL) hosted delegates from the World Bank and Association of African Universities (AAU) on Tuesday, April 18th 2023, at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) headquarters, Abuja.

The World Bank and AAU visit to ACETEL is geared towards supporting the centre in accelerating its project implementation activities.

The delegates which also had the National Universities Commission (NUC) as part of its team paid a visit to the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Olufemi Peters at his office.

The Vice Chancellor, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Prof. Olufemi Peters, while addressing the World Bank delegates who paid him a visit in his office, said ACETEL has impacted the university positively.

He told the visitors that the university will intensify efforts to improve its support, as it applies to ACETEL and the university also.

Peters assured the team that he will push ACETEL to achieve more.

Dr. Ekua Bentil, while intimating the VC of the purpose for their visit, commended him for his support to ACETEL, especially in giving grants to the centre.

She said such assistance is not seen from Vice Chancellors in other universities.

Earlier, the Director, ACETEL, Prof. Grace Jokthan, received the team at the ACETEL conference room, she welcomed them and introduced the delegates, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Technology, Innovation and Research, Prof. Monioluwa Olaniyi, who is the Focal person for DLI 7 and the ACETEL team.

Dr. Ekua Bentil, a member of the delegates, presiding over the meeting, stated that the goal is to help centers accelerate, especially those with a lot of potential but experiencing challenges, she raised several questions that were discussed with the ACETEL team.

Mr. Harry Crimi, also a delegate, made a presentation showing different slides, while deliberating on DLI and finalizing of restructuring, he displayed a chart showing ACETEL’s DLI achievement at thirty-one percent (31%) as of April 15th, 2023, thirty-eight percent (38%) expected by May 1st , 2023 and forty-four percent (44%) expected by June 30, 2023.

ACETEL scored high in student’s enrolment, but in terms of publication, the West Africa journal that was presented to the delegates was rejected because the World Bank requirement for publication is expected to be in SCOPUS.

The center was told that their publications should go outside the region, so that the journals can be known internationally.

After much persuasion on the authenticity of the West African Journal, the delegates agreed to re-analyze publications submitted and to apply new conditions of accepting sector related 2022 publications.

While the discussion continued, Prof. Jokthan and other ACETEL team members responded to questions raised by the delegates.

Jokthan told them that the center has earned national accreditation for six (6) of its programs, and has been paid for three (3), she said for international accreditation, the Centre is waiting for students graduation to be concluded before starting the process.

On this the center was scored to have completed the first phase of readiness and is now undergoing gap analysis, she said “request has been sent to NUC to pay AQAS so then the gap analysis can begin.”

Dr. Bentil responding to this said, once gap analysis is completed for one programme, three hundred thousand dollar ($300,000) will be earned.

Bentil and her team urged the Centre to create a more sustainable way to administer short courses and to continue to accelerate, they recommended that short courses should be focused on professional outside the university and have external focus.

Prof. Jokthan spoke on the centre’s proposed building, which she said would be completed by the end of 2023 and furnished by first quarter of 2024.

Dr. Bentil made a promise to release some funds for the center’s building project.

The World Bank team had separate meetings with ACETEL students and the Sectoral Advisory Board who are also partners with the center, where they had a chat with them to know how well they are doing in their academics and also their challenges.

Briefing the Centre’s team on the outcome of the meeting, she said ACETEL has a very good sectoral board, commenting on the students, she said they complained about a gap in proper communication.

Dr. Bentil advised that the aspect of communication should be looked into.

She said the communications office needs to be strengthened in order to have a strong team.

The World Bank team took a tour of the CISCO lab and the Directorate of Learning Content Management System (DLCMS) studios.

Members of the World Bank delegates are Ekua Bentil, Sylvia Mkandawire, Dilip Parajuli, Adeline Addy, Harry Crimi, Joshua Attah etc.

They commended ACETEL for doing very well and referred to the centre as one of the best and urged them to support other universities in terms of capacity building and personnel for data management.

They urged ACETEL to source for grants outside the university and not rely on the institution alone for funds.