Most students dream of graduating with a first-class degree. In most cases, this involves burning the proverbial midnight oil and for most Nigerian students, having to contest with various challenges in the way of getting a quality education. This narrative is, however, becoming a thing of the past as Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Center for Distance Learning recently recorded not just one but three first-class degree graduates from its online B.Sc Accounting programme courtesy of its partnership with EduTech.
In business since 2012, EduTech has worked to bridge the gap between demand for and access to quality education by decentralizing the traditional brick and mortar method of learning. The firm works with progressive-minded universities to digitize their on-campus learning experience and provide an exceptional remote learning experience for their students leading to increased value for all stakeholders.
Speaking on the recently recorded feat, Acting General Manager, EduTech, Femi Shonubi said, “This graduation ceremony is a validation of our e-learning platform’s ability to provide students with a robust system leading to the award of a degree and we are grateful to our partners -the OAU Management -as well as the students for trusting our solution. We are particularly thankful to the trio of Emiola Lateef Adeola, Ilesanmi Joshua Taiwo and Oyebamiji Tesleem Adesina for proving that with a dint of hard work and diligence, it is possible to achieve a first-class degree on our platform.”
With over 1.8million applicants in the last Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and only about 600,000 available physical spaces in Nigerian universities, there’s no gainsaying that the ever-expanding gap between the number of applicants and facilities to cater to them posts a serious challenge not only for students and their parents but also for university administrators across the country.
This, therefore, formed the basis for the establishment of the tech company. Chronicling the launch of the company, Shonubi said that the firm looked at the learning experience both in and out of Africa as to how it could plug the learning gap with technology, explaining that, “Our campuses here have big lecture rooms full of students where, only those seated at the front are the only ones that actually hear what the lecturer says while others don’t. This hampers the knowledge being imparted and shows in the students’ results when they are assessed. The experience is quite different when these courses are taught online however, as students enjoy seamless access to study materials and lectures as it is a one-on-one interaction based on technology. That is what we saw, and we decided to provide a platform to achieve this.”
On the part of the university, the decision to partner with EduTech was borne out of the need to leverage on EduTech’s expertise in e-learning courseware development and other ancillary facilities to fast-track their Online Distance Learning (ODL) programme. According to the pioneer Director of the programme, Professor Olabode Asubiojo, “EduTech has assisted in training our staff on courseware development and general upgrade of the Information Technology Unit of our Centre. Now, all the lecturer has to do is to simply enter any of the purpose-built studios and deliver his lecture. The video recording of the lecture is then sent online to subscribed students. With a dedicated internet connection on the e-learning tablets, the students can interact with lecturers, play the lectures back as often as he likes and access materials from the library.”
For an initiative addressing the challenges with the brick and mortar studying mode, customer experience is a critical success factor and EduTech understands this quite clearly. Sharing his experience using the platform, one of the first-class Accounting degree graduates from the programme, Emiola Lateef Adeola said, “This programme is the type I’ve been looking for over the years so when the opportunity came, I just grabbed it. I work with a top accounting firm and there’s very little time to study. The courses and exams are the same as that of the physical classes and we are even taught by the same lecturers. Our lecturers are very cooperative; you can access them at any time even at night you can call them if you have any difficulty with the coursework and they will put you through.
Also, the mode of study is purely online. It’s only twice in a semester you need to come around to campus to interact with lecturers as the lectures are already pre-recorded for you and you can download it from the portal. You can rewind or fast forward the content as you desire to get a better grasp of the subject. You can equally convert it to audio and listen to it in the car. Anytime I travel to and from Lagos to Ibadan, I usually listen to the lectures on the journey and I contact the lecturers on any difficulty once I arrive. Courtesy the EduTech platform on the OAU ODL, not only am I able to increase my credentials, I also got promotions at work. Now, I’m a proud owner of a B.Sc (Accounting) degree from OAU”.
EduTech currently facilitates both undergraduate and post-graduate programmes in two universities. In OAU, the platform facilitates online-based undergraduate programmes leading to the award of Bachelor of Science degrees in Accounting and Economics as well as Bachelor of Nursing Science degrees. With Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), the platform facilitates the Masters of Business Administration (MBA), Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), BNSc Nursing, B.Sc (Economics, Public Administration and Business Administration) courses online with plans to include 10 more programmes this year. ABU students can enjoy the traditional first and second semesters (like in the conventional universities) and a third semester in which one can fast track and take the next session courses all in one year.
According to Shonubi, the firm has a plan to increase its students count from 6,000 currently to 130,000 across its partner institutions in the next five years and is looking at discussing with some financial institutions about the possibility of having access to student loans at favourable rates. EduTech is also looking at helping the students secure internship opportunities to boost their chances of employment. These will assuredly help boost capacity for students to access much required education.
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