Vice Chancellors from twenty six African Universities have endorsed the collaboration framework for implementation of distance and eLearning programs. This was at the conclusion of the AVU Policy Harmonization and Curriculum Conceptualization Workshop held in Nairobi Kenya, from 9th to 12th July 2012.
In a final communique issued at the end of the workshop participants agreed on a collaborative approach for implementing distance and eLearning programs in Africa. They endorsed the AVU Multinational Project II framework for curriculum design, development, and production of learning materials in various formats, delivery, accreditation, award and quality assurance, as well as Open Educational Resources.
They also endorsed the project’s governance, sustainability and quality assurance strategies which include: communities of practice; Teacher Education Advisory Committee; Teacher Education Virtual Consortium; Computer Science Advisory Committee and Computer Science Virtual Consortium.
The Vice Chancellors also appreciated the African Development Bank for financial and technical support to the AVU Multinational Project II in 21 countries and 27 universities. They supported the initiative by the African Virtual University to facilitate the implementation of various programs across the participating countries and institutions. They encouraged institutions to adopt ICT integration in education and Open Educational Resources policies.
The Vice Chancellors also called on governments and development partners to support AVU and to contribute in strengthening and expanding the outputs of the Multinational Project I. They encouraged African countries to adopt the AVU Charter, and tertiary education institutions to join the AVU network.
The workshop participants included 133 delegates from 24 African Countries in government, academia development partners and strategic partners. The workshop was attended by High Level representatives, including Prof. Adwok Nyaba, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, South Sudan, Prof. Arindo Chilunda, Deputy Minister for Higher Education, Mozambique, Prof. Harry Kaane, Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Kenya, Prof. Abdoul Aziz Issa Daouda, Director of Cabinet, Ministry of Education, Niger, and Ms. Ngombe Kabamba Nandege, Deputy Director of Cabinet, Ministry of Higher Education, University and Scientific Research.
The project is being implemented in 21 African countries following the successful implementation of a first phase in 12 universities from 10 countries. The project includes: Establishment and upgrading of Open Distance and eLearning Centers among participating Partner Institutions; gender mainstreaming through awarding scholarships to female students; research and development;
It also includes technical assistance to countries and universities, enhancing the use of open educational resources; implementation of the teacher education, computer science and peace and conflict resolution programs as well as AVU Capacity Enhancement Program.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the workshop, AVU Rector Dr. Bakary Diallo said: “Higher education institutions can increase student enrollment and offer quality training by integrating open learning, distance education and eLearning programs into conventional institutions through the innovative use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). We have factored the lessons from the first phase of this project and I am very happy about the commitment from governments and universities to implement successfully this second phase”.
Access to higher education in Africa is still a major challenge. It is estimated that only 6 per cent of school of the population have access to higher education.
The AVU Multinational Support Project II is funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and it aims at strengthening AVU and its network of institutions to deliver and manage quality ICT integrated education and training opportunities in 21 African countries.
The workshop also included participants from Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, DRC, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan and Tanzania. AVU partners such as the African Development Bank, the African Capacity Building Foundation, UNESCO, the Association for the Development of Education in Africa also attended the workshop.