International survey of independent study programs and development of a model for Nigerian higher education
Onwuka, Sebastine Obi
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The purpose of this study was to conduct an international survey of independent study programs and to identify what comparable countries have successfully utilized independent study as an alternative and/or adjunct to the traditional system. Since the major problem facing Nigeria is lack of educational opportunities for qualified students, developing an independent study model that would best serve to expand the capacity of Nigerian Higher Education is a matter of urgency. A preliminary study of Nigerian students studying at various universities in Texas was made to determine their perceptions of independent study in Nigeria. The major part of the study was based on an extensive survey of literature on independent study in Poland, Brazil, Zambia, India, Britain, and the United States of America. The preliminary survey, and to a greater extent the literature survey, tends to indicate that Nigeria will benefit from an independent study program. Nigeria could utilize a well-developed a system of independent study in order to cope with the large number of qualified applicants seeking admission into Nigeria's higher education institutions. The model that could be utilized in Nigeria is one that should be cost effective without sacrificing quality. The proposed model is a modified version of the Open University. It is comprised of a central body based in the federal capital in Lagos. Other smaller units of the Open University are located at the existing major universities. The Vice Chancellor, stationed in Lagos, is the chief executive while the various smaller units are headed by directors. The Open University of Nigeria will make use of the structures and equipments of the existing traditional universities. In addition to adopting the multi-media form of instruction --correspondence materials, radio and television broadcasts, and video materials --the long vacation period would be utilized for face-to-face teaching. A cost study to determine the cost of implementing the proposed model was not done because of lack of data from Nigeria. However, when properly utilized, the model will open additional opportunities of higher education to qualified students seeking admission into Nigerian higher institutions, and should be cost effective.