National Open University of Nigeria – What you need to Know

The National Open University of Nigeria is a Federal Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institution, the first of its kind in the West African sub-region. It is Nigeria’s largest tertiary institution in terms of student numbers and is popularly referred to as ‘NOUN’.

The National Open University was initially established on 22 July 1983 as springboard for open and distance learning in Nigeria. It was suspended by the government on 25 April 1984. However, its resuscitation was begun on the 12th of April 2001 by the former President of Nigeria, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo. At take off of the university, pioneer student enrollment stood at 32,400.

In 2011, NOUN had about 57,759 students. The Vice Chancellor is Prof. Vincent Tenebe . The National Open University of Nigeria operates from its Administrative Headquarters in Victoria Island, Lagos, with Study Centres throughout the country. It offers over 50 programmes and 750 courses.

NOUN does not provide lectures to students in normal classrooms except some certain study centres, primarily due to constraints known to the University alone and the challenges usually faced by a developing tertiary institution. The study centre in Lagos for instance provides lectures to all its Law undergraduates and supplies necessary course materials to all students after the payment of tuition fees. All courses offered have been accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC).

The Registrar serves as the Secretary to Council and Senate bodies. The Registry Department’s primary responsibility is to provide support services in the General Administration of the University with emphasis on Council affairs, Senate matters, recruitment of Staff, Students’ admission/welfare, Staff welfare and other related activities. The registrar is in person Mrs. Josephine Olasumbo Akinyemi.

School of Science and Technology
Postgraduate Programmes

-Information Technology

-Digital Communication

-Mobile (Wireless) Communication Technology


-Agriculture and Extension

Undergraduate Programs


-Computer and Mathematics (Combined Hons)

-Computer Science

-Data Management

-Communications Technology

-Agricultural Extension and Management

-Nursing Science

-Community Health

-Environmental Science and Resource Management (ESM)

-Financial Mathematics




School of Health Science


-Public Health

School of Arts and Social Sciences

-French And International Studies

-Mass Communication

-Peace, Conflict and Resolution

-English Language


-Political Science -Criminology and security studies

School of Education

Undergraduate programmes:

-Agriculture Science



-Computer Science


-Integrated Science


-Business Education

-Primary Education

-Early Childhood Education



Masters Programmes

-Admin and Planning

-Science Education

-Education Technology

School of Management Sciences

Undergraduate Courses

-Entrepreneurial and Business Management

-Accounting in collaboration with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria not accredited by NUC

Postgraduate courses

-Financial Management

-Business Administration

-Public Administration

-Master of Business Administration

-Public Administration

-Public Sector Management

Centre for Life-Long Learning and Workplace Training

Diploma Programmes

Business Communication

Medical Office Practice


Financial Management


Academic Certificate Programmes

Dental Office Practice

Computer Literacy

Returning Students

Medical Office Practice

Financial Management



A diverse range of students from all walks of life are attracted to the National Open University of Nigeria just like other prominent Open Universities such as the Open University of United Kingdom (OU); for most courses there are no stringent entry requirements other than the ability to study at an appropriate level such as the West African Examination, and other National Diplomas to qualify for a Direct entry admission. Though most postgraduate courses require evidence of previous study and/or equivalent life experience. This fundamental open admissions policy makes undergraduate university study accessible to all.

While most of those studying are mature students, an increasingly large proportion of new undergraduates are aged between 17 and 25, the reduction in financial support for those attending traditional universities, coupled with the use of technologies such as and YouTube that appeal to this demographic, is believed to be behind this growth.

Immunity to strikes
Another reason is the Act of Parliament which established the University prohibiting any form of union either within staff or students. This has made the NOUN to be unaffected by strikes such as the ASUU strikes (which lasted for eight months) in Nigeria which ultimately extends students course duration in school unnecessarily. NOUN students have always and will continue to be immune to any form of strike.

National Youths Service Corps Stand.

The NOUN made efforts to ensure its graduates below age 30 (the maximum age limit) participate in the National Youth Service Corps and Law graduates proceed to the Nigerian Law School.

However, efforts have of recent, materialized. The University released a statement where it affirmed that students of NOUN can now enroll and be part of the NYSC program.

Rankings and achievements

Latest results of University Rankings released by Ranking Web of Universities (popularly known as Webometrics) revealed another list of 100 Best Universities in Nigeria for 2015. Just as done in every other web ranking, webometrics ranking 2015 adopted search queries from search engines to rank the top universities which the National Open University ranked 23rd.

Convocated prison inmates

The decision of the management and senate of National Open University Nigeria(NOUN) to establish study centres in some of the nation’s prisons has started yielding fruits as three inmates were among the over 7,000 that recently graduated from the 13-year-old institute. At its 4th convocation held in the Main Exhibition Hall of the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, and witnessed by the representative of President, Goodluck Jonathan many Vice Chancellors governing council and Senates members and key stakeholders, the two inmates from the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons ended up as star attraction aside the two First-Class graduates produced by the institute for the first time.

But attempts by Education Review to speak with them (inmates) were strongly resisted by a female prison official. However, the Deputy Controller in charge of Kirikiri Maximum told Education Review that one of the inmates, is serving life imprisonment while the second inmate whom he could not give his name was released two weeks ago after serving his jail term. Oladapo and the other inmates just discharged were awarded BSc in Peace and Conflict Resolution, the same course the best overall student, Mrs. Anthonia Okoye (a 43-year-old mother who is one of the first two graduates to graduate with a First-Class degree at the institution) studied.

Technological platforms

The National Open University of Nigeria in its effort to take education to the doorstep of the Nigerian populace irrespective of their social status and the developing Economy of Nigeria has deployed and implemented iLearn portal technology to enhance student’s learning experience. The NOUN iLearn platform has been created to ease access to excellent quality education. The platform provides amongst many, the following:

Online class discussions organized by NOUN facilitators thereby creating a virtual classroom environment.

Facility for students to get answers to any questions or areas of difficulty pertaining to their course of study.

Networking and collaboration tools to help in community of interaction among students, facilitators, academic staff and faculty members.

Better study tools such as the Smart e-Book Digitized lecture video and audio materials for an enhanced student’ learning experience available on the platform.

Access to assignments, quizzes and self-study assessment tools.

The university administers the Computer-Based-Test (CBT) form of examination to its students in their first and second years. However, Law undergraduates participate in the standard Pen-On-Paper examinations (POP) beginning from their first year of admission, with LAW111-Legal Methods in First Semester of the first year.

Other undergraduates also participate in the CBT system of examination in their first and second years and commence the POP examinations from their third year till the end of their respective course durations. The POP examination system applies to Post Graduate students also.

The CBT system of examination has however been criticised by some of the students. The CBT examination is in two categories; the multiple choice questions and fill in the gap – which is the most dreaded examination type by students all around the world.

The CBT system requires students to most times, memorize their textbooks in accordance with the programmed answers stored on the school’s server in order to obtain full marks as computers will reject answers that do not match its programmed content.


Tutor-Marked Assignments (TMAs) are continuous assessments in form of Tutor Marked Assignment and it accounts for 30% of student’s total score. Students are expected to answer at least four TMAs, three of which must be answered and submitted before students sit for the end of course examination

Final examination and grading
With examinations written successfully, The ‘end of course examinations’ would earn students 70% which would be added to their TMA score (30%). The time for this examination is always communicated to students.



The NOUN operates an e-library at the headquarters situated at Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria which all students have access to after providing a valid student’s identity card. Students have access to both Internet facilities, books, journals, projects, thesis of past students and other educational materials.

Radio station

The radio station broadcasts at the frequency 105.9 NOUN FM. Mass Communication students also have the opportunity to intern at the studio which broadcasts on all working days.


The NOUN also provides a platform for students that needs to access its database of educational materials NOUN e-Courseware Free Download strictly for educational purposes rather than financial or commercial purposes. Books can be downloaded in PDF formats at no cost.

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