International Council for Education, Research and Training

Nigerian Open and Distance Learning Students and the Mandatory National

Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Scheme

1Ahimie, B., 2Kareem, A. A., & 3Okojide, A. C.

1,2Department of Educational Foundations, University of Lagos, Nigeria.

3Covenant University, Ota Ogun State, Nigeria


The principal means of accessing admission into higher educational institutions in Nigeria is the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) carried out by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB). The total number of candidates looking for admission into the different Nigerian institutions of higher learning has been on the increase over the years. The main motivation behind setting up any Open Distance Learning (ODL) institutions in Nigeria is to give a scope of chance to admittance to advanced education to students who, for one explanation or the other, really like to have their schooling in a more adaptable way. Moreover, the low admission limit of Nigerian universities for full time studies places a limit on the number of prospective learners who can be admitted into universities thereby making a monstrous hole between the people who want higher education and the framework accessible to cater for their necessities. The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme is an obligatory programme set up by the Nigerian government to include graduates of Nigerian educational tertiary institutions who are 30 years and below with the aim of promoting national unity and integration as well as to contribute to the accelerated growth of the national economy. However, graduates of open and distance learning institutions in the country do not take part in the NYSC programme. An attempt is made in this paper to investigate the level of preparedness and interests of ODL students and their disappointment in their exclusion from the programme. To achieve this, a descriptive survey research design was adopted for the study with a random sample of 201 respondents comprising 114 male and 87 female distant learners within the stipulated age for the NYSC scheme. A researcher-developed questionnaire was used to gather data from respondents. Four research questions were raised and three hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance. Data gathered were analyzed and presented using figures, simple percentages, frequency tables and the Independent T-test. The findings revealed that 98% of respondents believe that they are prepared for the NYSC scheme, while 2% of respondents are not prepared. 99% are interested and 97% are disappointed at their exclusion from the scheme. No significant gender difference was observed in the level of preparedness, extent of interest and degree of disappointment in exclusion from the scheme among respondents. The study recommends a collaborative effort of ODL institutions and their counselling units in addressing anxieties and disappointments among students. The study also advocates a review of government’s policy on the NYSC scheme for possible inclusion of young graduates of ODL institutions in the scheme.  

Keywords: Open and Distance learners, The National Youth Service Corps, Readiness, Interest, Disappointment, Exclusion, Inclusion.   


The exclusion of Open Distance Learning (ODL) students from Nigeria’s National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme poses a critical challenge to the nation’s education and youth development. The study reveals that ODL students are well-prepared and interested in the NYSC programme but are disappointed by their exclusion from the scheme, emphasizing the need for urgent policy reforms. With 85 countries globally implementing military and community services, Nigeria’s NYSC scheme, crucial for national unity, cannot afford to exclude willing youths. Current exclusionary practices hinder national development and unity, contrary to the scheme’s objectives. The study urges collaboration between ODL institutions and counselling units to address student concerns. It advocates for a comprehensive review of the NYSC scheme to ensure the inclusion of eligible youths, aligning it with broader national development goals. This is vital for maximizing the NYSC’s impact on national cohesion, youth development, and unity.


Bukola Ahimie (Ph. D) is a Senior lecturer in the Department of Educational Foundations, Faculty of Education, University of Lagos. She has a Masters’ degree and a Ph. D in Guidance and Counselling from the University of Lagos. She teaches undergraduate and post-graduate courses in Guidance and Counselling and is also involved in the supervision of Ph. D, Masters and undergraduate theses/research projects as well as the practicum exercise (field work). She is the Departmental coordinator of the practicum exercise and a member of the Faculty of Education Post-graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) committee; She is a member of some national and international associations; Association of Professional Counsellors in Nigeria (APROCON); British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP); American Counselling Association (ACA); Employee Assistance Professional Association (EAPA); Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD); Forum for African Women Educationalists, Nigeria (FAWEN) and the International Council for Education, Research and Training (ICERT). She has published articles in both national and international journals. Her major interest areas include; youth/adolescent counselling, marital counselling and especially workplace counselling.      

Kareem, Abigail Abidemi is a young academic in the Department of Educational Foundations (with Educational Psychology), Faculty of Education, University of Lagos, Nigeria. Abigail holds a doctorate degree in Guidance and Counselling. Her doctoral thesis was on “Assessment and Management of Proneness to Suicide among Adolescents in Selected Secondary Schools in Lagos-Nigeria”. She teaches, introduction to Guidance and Counselling, measurement and Evaluation, Sex Education and Marital Guidance at Undergraduate Level.  Her research interest is in E-guidance and counselling services and Adolescence Counselling. Abigail is a Member of Association of Professional Counsellors in Nigeria (APROCON).  Abigail derives satisfaction in teaching and helping adolescents in overcoming their developmental challenges.

Dr. (Mrs) Angela Okojide is a Professional Counsellor and an Educational Consultant, a double award winner at the completion of her doctoral degree programme at Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria in 2021. Her first, second degrees and Ph.D are in Guidance and Counselling. Her career interests are in Career Counselling, Youths/Adolescents Counselling, Marital/Family Counselling, Social Psychology, and Teaching. She has been involved in teaching, school administration and professional counselling services for over two decades. She has written a number of modules for distance learning degree programmes in Guidance and Counselling courses and has made a number of publications in highly-rated international and local journals and books. Angela is a member of Association of Professional Counsellors in Nigeria (APROCON). She is happily married with children.


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