Open and Distance Learning as Paradigm Shift in Education vis-a-vis Covid-19 Pandemic: Focus on the Council of Legal Education and Faculties of Law in Nigerian

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF10 Sub-theme: Promoting Equity and Inclusion // The World Bank stated that by April 2020, over 220 million or 13 percent of students in tertiary education globally experienced interruptions in studies due to the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Similarly, over 65,000 Nigerian law students faced academic disruptions for same reason. Invariably the momentum for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) has never been stronger than since the COVID-19 pandemic which urgently demands a paradigm shift in lifestyles and transformation of education through relevant learning models, pedagogies and institutional management reforms. Meanwhile, the Council of Legal Education (CLE) in Nigeria which regulates the admission of law students approves of only the single mode conventional face-to-face teaching method which creates gender inequalities and lacks inclusiveness. This is inimical to the attainment of ESD for law education in Nigeria where universities were shut down due to COVID -19 pandemic. Using doctrinal methodology, the paper finds that it would be practically impossible for Nigeria to achieve its national education policy and the ESD targets without the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system espoused by the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) as a viable panacea to academic interruptions attributable to present and future pandemics. However, the critical issue is getting the CLE and the law faculties to adopt this emerging ODL paradigm trend to complement the traditional face to face mode for sustainable law education and legal practice in Nigeria. The paper therefore recommends that the ODL system with its associated Zoom applications should be adopted as a paradigm shift to law education in Nigeria to complement the conventional face to face methods in the university law faculties and Law Schools. Accordingly, the National Assembly of Nigeria should amend the Acts establishing the Law Schools and the National Universities Commission to incorporate ODL system. Furthermore, the Nigerian judiciary should embrace the use of ODL technology in all courts of law for quick and effective dispensation of justice. // Paper ID 2545

Higher Education,Distance Education,Open and Distance Learning (ODL)