ODeL is Panacea to Addressing Africa’s Yawning Access Gap in Tertiary Education

–Prof. Goski Alabi
Prof. Mrs. Goski Alabi, Consulting President of Laweh Open College, has asserted that Open, Distance and e-Learning (ODeL) coupled with TVET system is the antidote to addressing the yawning access gap to tertiary education in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA).
Prof. Mrs. Alabi observed that 90.6 per cent of African youth have no access to tertiary education, a situation she described as “a ticking time bomb.” And the means deflate such a bomb is to deploy ODeL in order to equip the youth with the requisite skills and competencies.
She was addressing a virtual session of the RETRIDOL Monthly ODL Discourse, which focuses on issues in West and Central Africa. Her topic was Sub-Saharan Higher Education Enrolment Ratio: Bridging the Yawning Gap. Some of the participants included vice chancellors, professors and other academics. RETRIDOL is the Regional Training and Research Institute for Open and
Distance Learning.
Prof. Mrs. Alabi, whose lecture was steeped in statistical data noted, “Almost 60% of Africa’s population is under the age of 25, making Africa the world’s youngest continent. Without urgent action, the situation is likely to get worse as the region faces a rising demand for tertiary education due to the numbers that graduate from the secondary level. This youthfulness presents both opportunities and challenges for the continent. “
She disclosed that the 48 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa have a total population of over one billion, making it one of the largest regions in the world. However, the current gross tertiary
education enrolment ratio of 9.4%, and around 12% for the entire continent, are well below the global average of 38%.
She believes that besides ODeL and TVET, Commitment and Investments by African governments and policies that build confidence in ODeL and TVET could also help Africa meet the Pan African vision of Agenda 2063 of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena.”
Prof. Mrs. Alabi emphasised the need for a paradigm shift in education in Africa, from one of preparing learners for white-collar jobs to a focus on skills, competency, technology and
entrepreneurial-based education.

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