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In Your Classroom: To a virtual degree

By Ossai Okwudilii in Abuja, Nigeria
Posted on Monday, 27 July 2009 00:00

The poor state of facilities at Nigerian universities means many

students prefer to take degrees abroad, says Ossai Okwudilii, a

Nigerian student taking an online degree in informaiton security at the

University of Liverpool

I work in the information technology unit of a bank in Abuja and chose a 100% online programme because of the flexibility it allows to combine work and study. I have 24/7 access to my class, and there are no visa issues to go abroad to study. The most important advantage is that the University of Liverpool will not write ‘online certificate’ on my degree: the certificate is the same as if I were physically at the university. I am learning alongside students with industry experience based all over the world.

My course gives me the upper hand in job opportunities locally and internationally. It has more advanced teaching methodologies and materials, and zero tolerance for bribery and corruption, such as collecting money for marks. There are no riots, cult activities, strikes or civil unrest. It is a much more conducive learning environment. However, I do face some difficulties accessing my course materials online, mainly due to slow internet access.

eLearning courses provide access to education for older and working professionals, but there are difficulties to overcome if online education is to spread further in Africa. Universities need to have a physical office and representative in each African country that will act as online ambassadors – otherwise potential students can see it as a fraudulent racket. The cost of eLearning courses is also an issue, as students pay either in dollars, pounds or euros, and local currencies are getting weaker on a daily basis due to the global economic meltdown. Some companies do not accept online degrees.