Education is a powerful driver of development and one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty and improving health, gender equality, peace, and stability. – The World Bank.
Education has large, consistent returns in terms of income and counters widening inequality. For individuals, it promotes employment, earnings, health, and poverty reduction. For societies, it drives long-term economic growth, spurs innovation, strengthens institutions, and fosters social cohesion.
Evidence in recent times shows that the skills acquired in schools are what drive growth and equip individuals for work and life. Education acquired in school is most times referred to as formal education. While education acquired outside structured learning environment is referred to as informal education. However, this article focuses on online education and certification.
What is Online Education?
Online education as summarized in Lynda.com is a form of education which is delivered and administered using the internet. Students and instructors correspond and interact using virtual methods such as: email, Web conferencing, and learning management systems through the computer and other digital devices. Over six million students currently take one or more of their courses online; 50% of universities offer an online degree program. These numbers are only growing. Technology has changed the nature of education—and the jobs of educators.
What Programs Can be studied online?
The most recent Survey of Online Learning by the Babson Survey Research Group shows that nearly six million students take at least one course online. Just over one-fourth (28%) of students in higher education are now taking at least one online course, with more and more students taking online courses at major, public non-profit universities.
Students all over the world are taking online degree programs in an array of fields including business, information technology, engineering, healthcare, criminal justice, political science, and more.
Are Online Certificates valid?
Photo credit: SELECTSTOCK/GETTY IMAGES
In the United states online certificates have come to be accepted by many employers even though few employers are still wary of it. This is based on a report by Devon Haynie, New York Daily News reporter.
However, in Nigeria, the reverse seems to be the case. In 2015, the National Universities Commission (NUC) ruled that henceforth, degrees obtained online from any institution outside the country, “will not be recognized as a means of seeking employment or doing other legitimate business in Nigeria.”
According to Punch, the commission’s Director of Information and Public Relations, Ibrahim Usman Yakasai, said:
“Nigeria will not recognize online degrees. Online degrees are not accepted in Nigeria at the moment; the Nigerian constitution does not even give recognition to such degrees. Those who ran out of Nigeria for study outside this country are those looking for cheaper degrees. It is either they cannot pass the examinations or they do not possess the minimum entry qualifications.”
Nigerian recruiters already question certificates obtained in a structured classroom learning environment, so much more of online certificates. It is advisable to first acquire a certificate via the conventional learning system before going for any online program especially if your intention is to secure an employment with it in Nigeria.
The NUC statement may sound discouraging to you if you have the intention of going for an online certification especially if you are hoping to use it in securing employment in Nigeria. However, no knowledge is a loss (ie if you really abided by the rules of studying online). Online programs are recommended when you want to add to your knowledge and not just adding to your certificates. It is also favourable if you are fully employed and do not have the time to update your knowledge in a given field via classroom learning. It is all about acquiring knowledge for self-development and not for adding to your list of certifications.