Promoting Quality Assurance Practices for ODL Programmes in West African Higher Education Institutions: The Role of RETRIDAL

V B Ogunlela, B O Ogunleye


The growth of open and distance learning (ODL) in higher education institutions in West
Africa has generated concern about comparability of standards and recognition accorded
products of ODL institutions. There is also concern about adherence of newly established ODL
institutions to prescribed quality criteria hence public skepticism about ODL. To address this
challenge, the foremost single-mode higher institution in Nigeria, the National Open University
of Nigeria (NOUN) was chosen to host the Regional Training and Research Institute for
Open and Distance Learning (RETRIDAL) that was established by the Commonwealth of
Learning (COL) to build capacity in West African higher institutions in ODL. This paper
reviewed the role of RETRIDAL at improvement of quality in NOUN and other ODL institutions
in West Africa along a Framework involving quality policy and plan, identifying critical
function, specification of standards, involvement of users, documentation, training and staff
development, monitoring and cost. RETRIDAL organizes training workshops for single and
dual mode higher institutions in West Africa. Research and Development activities of
RETRIDAL include programme evaluation on various functional areas of distance education
for systems development and improvement. The institutional, national and international training
programmes with the help of RETRIDAL-NOUN resource persons and instructional delivery
media facilities available at NOUN have continued to improve the quality of instruction for
distance learners, aiming at ensuring zero-defects in ODL programmes, enhancing fitness for

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